Sudarshan Gautam, originally from Nepal but now a Calgarian of four years, pours himself a cup of water at home on Friday, May 7.
Credits: LYLE ASPINALL/QMI AGENCY
CALGARY - Sudarshan Gautam has a long road ahead of him before next year's historic attempt to summit Mount Everest.
The Nepalese-born Mount Royal University student, who has no arms, will be cruising from one Canadian coast to the other to raise cash, awareness and, perhaps, the pulses of other drivers as he makes the journey behind the wheel using just his feet.
The inspiring amputee, who is licensed to drive and has done so on asphalt in 29 countries, is planning to pull off the feat as early as this summer.
Donations generated through his adventure will be split among a mountaineering program for the disabled, offered through the Vancouver-based Tetra Society, and his own endeavour to scale the world's highest peak, planned for next March.
"I like to spread the message that disability is not inability and I hope it will help for our mission to raise (money) for those things," said Gautam, 30, who will meet with sponsors Tuesday to finalize a start date for the cross-country tour.
"I have been planning this for next month, but because of the federal election the sponsor wants to move the project a couple months later."
Gautam, who hails from the rural Ramecchap district of Nepal, lost his arms at 14 while vacationing with his family in Kathmandu.
He was flying a kite that became entangled with overhead power lines.
Believing the wire was insulated, he used a piece of iron to dislodge the kite.
The resulting jolt badly damaged his limbs, which doctors had no choice but to remove.
The physical disadvantage has proven to be of little consequence to Gautam. In 2005, he earned a bachelor's degree in management and commerce before moving on to his next challenge - scaling the 5,372-metre Mount Yala using his teeth, feet and the aid of sherpas.
Through the Mount Everest expedition, Gautam hopes to raise $1 million for Nepalese orphans and disabled persons.