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TODAY news for Thursday, September 22, 2005

Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center news

Blind mountain climber Erik Weihenmayer to speak at University Church in Loma Linda

Erik Weihenmayer
Erik Weihenmayer poses for a picture during a recent mountain climbing trip.
World-class blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer will speak on Saturday evening, October 15, at 7 p.m. in the Loma Linda University Church of Seventh-day Adventists.

On May 25, 2001, Mr. Weihenmayer became the first blind man in history to reach the summit of the world’s highest peak—Mount Everest.

And on September 5, 2002, when he stood at the top of Mount Kosciusko in Australia, he completed his seven-year quest to climb the “Seven Summits,” the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. At that time, he joined only 100 mountaineers who had accomplished that feat, and at age 34, was also one of the youngest.

Despite losing his vision at age age 13, he has become an accomplished mountain climber, paraglider, and skier. His feats have earned him an award from ESPN, recognition by Time Magazine for one of the greatest sporting achievements of 2001, induction into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, the Helen Keller Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Freedom Foundation Award. He has also carried the Olympic torch for both the Summer and Winter Games.

Mr. Weihenmayer recently joined 320 athletes from 17 countries to compete in the Primal Quest, the richest and toughest multisport adventure race in the world: 457 miles through the Sierra Nevadas, nine days, and no time-outs.

Averaging only two hours of sleep a night, he and his team, No Boundaries, surged past the finish line on Lake Tahoe, becoming one of the 44 teams to cross the finish line intact out of 80 teams that began.

In addition to being a world-class athlete, Mr. Weihenmayer is the author of the book Touch the Top of the World. In this memoir, he recalls his struggle to push past the limits of vision loss. He tells his story with humor, honesty, and in vivid detail. He writes of the role his family played in his battle to break through the barriers of blindness.

His accomplishments have gained him abundant press coverage including visits to NBC’s “Today Show” and “Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” “Oprah,” “Good Morning America,” and the “Tonight Show.” He has also been featured on the cover of Time, Outside, and Climbing magazines and in Sports Illustrated, People, and Men’s Journal. An ABC movie on his life is now underway.

The award winning film, “Farther Than the Eye Can See,” is a look inside one of the most successful Mount Everest expeditions ever. Bringing home “Best of Festival” at both the Taos Film Festival and the Montreal International Adventure Film Festival, the film captures the emotion, humor, and drama of Mr. Weihenmayer’s historic ascent and his team’s four other “firsts” on Mount Everest: the “first” American father/ son team to summit, the oldest man to summit, and the most people from one team to reach the top of Everest in a single day.

Admission to the event is free and seating is on a first come, first served basis.

TODAY news for Thursday, September 22, 2005