University of Hawai'i
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For Immediate Release:
April 11, 2000
|UH student chosen to travel cross-country in 'Face of America'|
University of Hawai'i at Manoa graduate student My Lien Nguyen, an incomplete quadriplegic, will travel by handcycle, canoe, kayak and horseback for 21 days from San Francisco to St. Louis as part of the "Face of America." Sponsored by the North Carolina-based charity World T.E.A.M. Sports (WTS), the event creates a team of athletes from a range of ages, ethnicities and disability groups to bring awareness to the thousands of miles of rail-trails across the country, promoting their use and preservation.
Nguyen, a Ph.D. candidate in ethnobotany, suffered a spinal cord injury five years ago in a mountain-biking accident. Although she uses a wheelchair, Nguyen says she has maintained an active life through sports and fitness, and the May 13-June 3 event will showcase what America's population looks like in the year 2000.
"We will advance the notion that our nation can, and should, become stronger and more united by working together, valuing diversity and embracing a common goal," she says. "As an athletic woman with a physical disability, an ethnic minority, an educator and a scientist, I feel my participation in the "Face of America" is important as a role model to young girls and women, especially those with disabilities."
Nguyen's team will start at San Francisco and a second a team will set out from Boston. Each team will carry a special memento to be joined in a special ceremony when they reach St. Louis on June 3.
"WTS shows there is great power when diverse and integrated teams of people are brought together," Nguyen says. "By removing the barriers that often keep people from participating in sports, WTS creates opportunities for individuals to learn about themselves, improve their quality of life and success in an environment where they never thought possible."
In order to participate in this event, Nguyen must raise $3,500 to cover
her expenses. Donations are tax-deductible. Checks should be made payable
to World T.E.A.M. Sports and sent to Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity;
c/o Pua Auyong-White; Student Services Center 413, 2600 Campus Rd.; Honolulu,