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The Coalition of Texans with Disabilities Kicks Off National Disability Awareness Campaign

Austin Climber Gary Guller to Lead Unique Team to Mount Everest in 2003


AUSTIN, TEXAS February 11, 2002
The Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (CTD) is kicking off Team Everest ‘03, a campaign that will be one of the most dramatic upcoming events in the national and international disability community. The campaign and fundraiser will spotlight the capabilities of people with disabilities and be led by Austin mountain climber Gary Guller, himself an amputee. The event will promote 50 years of progress in advancing the conditions of those with disabilities while paralleling the much-anticipated 50th anniversary of the first summit of Everest.

The group is hosting a kick-off press conference and rally Tuesday, Feb. 12th, at 10:00AM in the parking lot of the Texas State Teachers Association building at Lavaca and 12th street. Former Austin Mayor Kirk Watson, a member of the Advisory Board of Team Everest ‘03, will be speaking at the event as well as Guller and leaders from the business and disability communities.

Other members of the Team Everest ‘03 Advisory Board include: Ann Richards, former Texas Governor, Earl Campbell, Heisman Trophy Winner and NFL Legend, and an assortment of distinguished athletes with disabilities, business leaders and accomplished Everest mountaineers.

Guller raised international awareness last year when he attempted to be the first person with one arm to summit Mount Everest. He is more than anxious to return.

"In climbing Mt. Everest," said Guller, "I hoped to raise awareness and support for the potential of people with disabilities and to show that life and dreams continue. Team Everest trek members will embody responsibility, leadership, physical determination and strength.”

Team Everest’03 is an 18-month campaign beginning in Austin, Texas in January 2002 and culminating in a Spring 2003 expedition to the base camp of Mt. Everest. Concluding with an Everest summit attempt to the apex of the world at 29,035’, Guller will begin by leading the team of 15 people with diverse disabilities on the grueling three-week trek up to Mount Everest Base Camp.

Simply known as the Team Everest ‘03 Challenge Trek, the hike to base camp is expected to generate tremendous interest. According to CTD Executive Director and Project Director of Team Everest ‘03, Dennis Borel, the Trek will prove that everyone can truly have the freedom to explore and live productively if only given a chance.

“By working as a team and ascending to the 17,388’ base of the world’s highest peak, Team Everest ’03 will ‘Challenge the Myth’ that people with disabilities are not strong and capable. We are going to send a message to the world that there really is unlimited potential to work, play and have a full life if you live with a disability. It is time for us to shatter the assumptions and discrimination still held by so many citizens,” says Borel.

About CTD

Founded in 1978, the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (CTD) is a statewide coalition of organizations and individuals controlled by Texans with disabilities. It works to ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to live, work, learn, play and participate fully in the community of their choice. CTD is an IRS-approved 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

For more information about Team Everest ‘03, the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, or Gary Guller, please contact Dennis Borel at (512) 478-3366. You can also learn more by visiting the expedition website at

Press Contact:
Dennis Borel
Project Director
(512) 478-3366