First Disabled Climber of Mt. Everest
Born in Wales, UK, Tom Whittaker worked as a rig diver in the North Atlantic and nightclub bouncer in Gibraltar. In 1976 he arrived in the U.S. delivering a 65-foot sailing yacht across the Atlantic. Pursuing his vision to become a world-class mountaineer, he quickly established himself by making the first ascent of a 1,000 ft. frozen waterfall in the Canadian Rockies, climbing alone to the summit of Mount McKinley, Alaska and scaling the 3,000 ft. Nose of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, California.
Then on Thanksgiving Day of 1979, Whittaker’s charmed life came to an abrupt end. On route to start a new job in Sun Valley, Idaho, an out-of-control vehicle swerved into his lane and smashed, head on, into his VW bus.
With shattered legs and two severely crushed feet, Whittaker refused pain medication in order to plead his case with the surgeon. His tenacity paid off. The original prognosis to amputate both legs was revised. He emerged from surgery with one of his feet intact!
Having led a life of extreme adventure Whittaker worked as an Outward Bound instructor, guided in mountains and on white water rivers. Now he faced a seemingly impossible task; to reinvent himself.
Determined to put himself back together in a new and better way, Whittaker overcame pain, anger, and thoughts of suicide, and embarked on an extraordinary life of service and adventure.
He earned another Masters degree and, in 1981, by harnessing the power of civic responsibility and volunteerism, he put the painful lessons he learned to work for others. This work led Newsweek magazine to name him as one of "America’s Unsung Heroes." In the process, he realized although raised British he was born to be an American and in 1986 became a U.S. citizen.
After pursuing his Doctoral studies at Colorado State University he accepted a position at Prescott College in the nation’s premier wilderness leadership program, where he taught for nine years. He is a member of the prestigious North Face climbing team, and runs his foundation, The Wind Horse Legacy, dedicated to integrating people with disabilities into the world community.
In January of 2004, Whittaker, 53, plans to become the first amputee to complete the "grand slam" of mountaineering, the Seven Summits, climbing the highest peak on each of the world’s continents.
As a visionary, innovator, and leader, Whittaker encourages us to tap into the limitless resources we have as individuals. Ultimately, he illustrates how persistence and belief in a goal can lead to a life of remarkable achievement.
His story is a compelling and universal allegory for our times, one that reminds audiences of the infinite power we all possess to turn adversity into triumph. Whittaker reminds us not to confuse an easy life with a good life and never, ever give up on pursuing the vision.
Fee Information: Booking Fees to hire speakers and celebrities are determined based on a number factors and often change without notice. Some factors include: speakers schedule, length of presentation, location of event, market conditions, availability and interest. Fee Ranges listed on this website are intended to serve only as a guideline. For the most current celebrity fees or to check availability, please contact a booking agent.
Please Note: All American Speakers Bureau acts only as an entertainment broker/producer for corporate functions, private engagements and special events. All American Speakers Bureau does not claim or represent itself as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Tom Whittaker or any artists or celebrities on this website.
All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, private events, public relations campaigns, promotions, commercials and product endorsements.
Profiles listed on this website are provided as a resource to our clients, which are meeting and event planners and other buyers of talent in order to provide them with the widest variety and selection of available talent. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read about the All American Speakers Bureau Advantage.
Due to the volume of emails and calls we receive, we can no longer respond to inquiries related to any of the following:
Related Tags: Find More Information on booking Tom Whittaker for appearances, speaking engagements, endorsements/spokesperson, appearance fees, booking agency contact info, biography of Tom Whittaker, Contact an artist booking talent agent find a speakers bureau that can book Tom Whittaker, speaker booking agency for Tom Whittaker, list of similar speakers and celebrities for hire, what is the cost to book a top 10 motivational speaker, musician, comedian or famous athlete.