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SAN ANTONIO MEN SELECTED FOR TEAM EVEREST ’03

Unique Disability Team Heading to Mount Everest in 2003

 

AUSTIN, TEXAS May 14, 2002
The Team Everest ’03 Expedition announced today that two San Antonio residents, Barry Muth, a community integration specialist at the Council on Independent Living (COIL), and Dinesh Ranasinghe, a programmer, have been chosen to be part of Team Everest ’03.

“This is a once in a lifetime experience,” said Muth, 43, a person with quadriplegia who uses a wheelchair. “I want to encourage and motivate other people, able bodied and disabled, so they know that anything can be accomplished if you put your mind and body to it.”

“This expedition will make others aware of the true limitless capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Over the past several years, I noticed something about myself since my amputation. Being an amputee is only a small part of who I am and it doesn’t reflect what I can or cannot do. I realized my limitations are solely dependent on my attitude,” said Ranasinghe, 25, whose right leg was amputated above the knee.

Team Everest ‘03 spotlights the potential of people with disabilities and is led by Texas mountaineer Gary Guller, a climber with only one arm. The event is promoting 50 years of progress in improving the lives of those with disabilities while paralleling the 50th anniversary of the first summit of Everest. Guller will lead this unique team of individuals and supporters on the three-week Challenge Trek to Mt. Everest Base Camp at 17,500 ft. before himself attempting the 29,035 ft. summit.

Eight other members of the Challenge Trek Team, all Texans, were announced and represent a diversity of disabilities: Chase Bearden and Gene Rodgers are persons with quadriplegia, Renata Domatti is a leg amputee, Mark Gobble is a person with deafness, Joe Paschall is a person with a visual impairment, Marcia McClellan is a two-time cancer survivor and Sandra Murgia is a disabled veteran with leg paralysis from a service injury. Chris Kane will be the expedition sign language interpreter. “Team Everest ’03 has a powerful message; it models how society can open the door of opportunity to all people, regardless of their ability or disability,” says expedition leader Guller.

The Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (CTD) kicked off this dramatic 18-month campaign in February and has recruited an Advisory Board including former Texas Governor Ann Richards, Heisman Trophy Winner and NFL Legend Earl Campbell, former Austin Mayor Kirk Watson, and an assortment of distinguished athletes with disabilities, business leaders and accomplished Everest mountaineers.

Only a short month after the public introduction of Team Everest’03, the event received notice in a leading national news magazine and the world’s largest mountaineering publication. Both Time Magazine and EverestNews.com highlighted Guller and the Texas-based expedition by people with disabilities in March issues.

"Such early and prominent national exposure is usually an indicator of ongoing and increasing media coverage. Team Everest '03 is the type of human interest story that attracts a following of readers, a situation highly desired by all news organizations," said Dr. Max McCombs, an internationally renowned media expert and professor at the University of Texas School of Journalism.

“We are actively seeking sponsors for this exciting event. Those who are interested in participating in this type of positive, national media should contact CTD,” says Dennis Borel, executive director of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities. “And we are continuing to accept applications from people with and without disabilities for the Challenge Trek. We’d like to see other San Antonio folks join Barry and Dinesh in being a part of Team Everest ’03.”

For more information about the Team Everest ’03 Challenge Trek, the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities or Gary Guller, please contact Dennis Borel at (512) 478-3366.


Press Contact:
Dennis Borel
Project Director
(512) 478-3366
info@teameverest03.org
www.teameverest03.org