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
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.