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Unique Disability Team Heading to Mount Everest in 2003


AUSTIN, TEXAS May 14, 2002
The Team Everest ’03 Expedition announced today that Renata F. Domatti of Houston, a medical social worker, has been chosen to be part of Team Everest ’03.

“Team Everest ’03 will be an incredible combination of beauty, education and physical challenges,” said Domatti, 28, whose leg was amputated at age 6 due to cancer. “I will be helping to educate people around the world about individuals with disabilities. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime both individually and professionally.”

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: Barry Muth, Chase Bearden and Gene Rodgers are persons with quadriplegia, 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 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 Houstonians join Renata 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