Blind Mountaineer Embarks on Trip to Climb Mt. Everest

Managing Seasonal Allergies Crucial to Reaching the Summit



Apr 30, 2001, 01:00 ET from Aventis Pharmaceuticals and National Federation of the Blind

    BASE CAMP, Mt. Everest, Nepal, April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Erik Weihenmayer
 will make history today as he leaves Base Camp in his quest to become the
 first blind person to successfully reach the summit of Mt. Everest.
 By mid-May, Weihenmayer hopes to stand on top of the world at 29,035-feet.
 The National Federation of the Blind is the sponsor of this expedition.  And
 Aventis Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Allegra(R) (fexofenadine HCl) 180-mg,
 is working with Erik, a seasonal allergy sufferer, to create a video
 documentary of this extraordinary trek.
     "As a believer in the National Federation of the Blind's philosophy, I
 don't think of my blindness as a limitation, and I haven't let it prevent me
 from achieving my goals," said Weihenmayer.  "The members of the Federation
 are climbing with me in spirit, so this expedition is a great example of our
 principle that people don't have to let physical challenges hold them back
 from accomplishing great things.  I'm not making history just for myself but
 for all of us in the National Federation of the Blind."
     In fact, Weihenmayer doesn't consider his blindness to be his biggest
 challenge, but rather the blooming flora that he will face during peak allergy
 season on Everest, which can present an even bigger obstacle for him.  In
 order to keep the symptoms of his seasonal allergies under control during the
 trek, Weihenmayer takes once daily Allegra(R) 180-mg tablets, a non-sedating
 antihistamine that provides seasonal allergy relief and helps him control the
 distraction his runny nose and itchy eyes can cause.
     "Allergies may seem like a minor nuisance, but they actually are a huge
 distraction, so I talked with my doctor about treatment options," said
 Weihenmayer, "I haven't let my blindness stop me from achieving my goals, so I
 was certainly not going to let my seasonal allergies stop me either."
 
     Weihenmayer and His Journey
     Weihenmayer, after losing his sight at age 13, has succeeded in climbing a
 number of difficult and technical peaks worldwide -- many of which had never
 been attempted by a blind person.  Bothered by seasonal allergy symptoms, he
 was diagnosed with seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR).  After trying many
 medications, Weihenmayer takes Allegra(R) (fexofenadine HCl) 180-mg for relief
 from his symptoms.
     A 32-year-old husband and father, Weihenmayer is an avid rock and ice
 climber who has successfully climbed four of the world's highest peaks
 including:  Mt. McKinley, Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, and most recently Vinson.
 He will be among an elite group of less than 100 climbers, including
 28 Americans, who have attempted to reach the highest points on the seven
 continents.  He recently authored a book called "Touch the Top of the World,"
 which chronicles some of his experiences.
     "The primary goal of this trek is not to put a blind climber on the
 summit, but to place a true team of climbers, one of whom happens to be blind,
 on top of the world," explains National Federation of the Blind President Marc
 Maurer.  "The climb will make a bold statement about the capabilities of blind
 people, their right to assume first-class citizenship, and the truth that,
 when given the proper training and opportunities, they can do just about
 anything."
 
     The National Federation of the Blind - Allegra(R) (fexofenadine HCl)
      180-mg 2001 Everest Expedition Background
 
     The newest sponsor, Allegra(R) (fexofenadine HCl) 180-mg, made by Aventis
 Pharmaceuticals, is supporting the 2001 Everest Expedition video documentary
 because Weihenmayer suffers from seasonal allergies -- something that millions
 of Americans suffer through each spring and fall.  The National Federation of
 the Blind is underwriting Weihenmayer's journey to the top of Everest to show
 that blind people can achieve remarkable things when given the chance and
 equipped with self-confidence.
     The National Federation of the Blind is a consumer-based organization of
 more than 50,000 blind people throughout the U.S.  Its primary purpose is to
 change what it means to be blind by changing people's attitudes about
 blindness.  Helping Weihenmayer climb Mt. Everest is one of the most effective
 ways to shatter the stereotypes associated with blind people.
     Allegra(R) 180-mg, is supporting the development of the documentary,
 "Vision of Everest," which will capture Weihenmayer's team as they climb Mt.
 Everest.  Designed to show the public that blind people have no boundaries
 when given an opportunity, the film will be released in spring 2002.
     Allegra(R) 180-mg, is a powerful, safe and effective non-sedating
 antihistamine for the treatment of symptoms in patients 12 years and older who
 have seasonal allergies.  Side effects with Allegra(R) 180-mg are low and may
 include headache, upper respiratory tract infection and back pain.
 Aventis Pharmaceuticals conducts the U.S. business of Aventis Pharma AG, the
 pharmaceutical company of Aventis S.A. (NYSE:   AVE).  Aventis Pharmaceuticals
 is dedicated to treating and preventing human disease through the discovery,
 development, manufacture and sale of innovative pharmaceutical products aimed
 at satisfying unmet medical needs.  Aventis Pharmaceuticals focuses on
 important therapeutic areas such as cardiology, oncology, infectious diseases,
 arthritis, allergies and respiratory disorders, diabetes, and central nervous
 system disorders.  The North America headquarters for Aventis Pharmaceuticals
 is in Bridgewater, N.J.
     Aventis Pharma comprises Aventis Pharmaceuticals; Aventis Pasteur, a world
 leader in vaccines, with corporate headquarters in Lyon, France; and Aventis
 Behring, a world leader in therapeutic proteins, with corporate headquarters
 in King of Prussia, Pa.  The North American headquarters of Aventis Pharma is
 in Frankfurt, Germany.
     One of the world's leading life sciences companies, Aventis S.A. is
 focused on two core business areas:  pharmaceuticals and agriculture.  With
 global headquarters in Strasbourg, France, Aventis employs around
 95,000 people in more than 120 countries.  Aventis was created in December
 1999 by the combination of Hoechst AG and Rhone-Poulenc, S.A.
 
     Statements in this news release other than historical information are
 forward-looking statements subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results
 could differ materially depending on factors such as the availability of
 resources, the timing and effects of regulatory actions, the strength of
 competition, the outcome of litigation and the effectiveness of patent
 protection. Additional information regarding risks and uncertainties is set
 forth in the current Annual Report on Form 20-F of Aventis on file with the
 Securities and Exchange Commission.
 
     Full prescribing information available by visiting the Aventis
 Pharmaceuticals U.S. Web site at http://www.aventispharma-us.com.  Also
 available at this U.S. Web site are copies of this release or any recent
 release, or call 800/207-8049.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X94446511
 
 

SOURCE Aventis Pharmaceuticals and National Federation of the Blind
    BASE CAMP, Mt. Everest, Nepal, April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Erik Weihenmayer
 will make history today as he leaves Base Camp in his quest to become the
 first blind person to successfully reach the summit of Mt. Everest.
 By mid-May, Weihenmayer hopes to stand on top of the world at 29,035-feet.
 The National Federation of the Blind is the sponsor of this expedition.  And
 Aventis Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Allegra(R) (fexofenadine HCl) 180-mg,
 is working with Erik, a seasonal allergy sufferer, to create a video
 documentary of this extraordinary trek.
     "As a believer in the National Federation of the Blind's philosophy, I
 don't think of my blindness as a limitation, and I haven't let it prevent me
 from achieving my goals," said Weihenmayer.  "The members of the Federation
 are climbing with me in spirit, so this expedition is a great example of our
 principle that people don't have to let physical challenges hold them back
 from accomplishing great things.  I'm not making history just for myself but
 for all of us in the National Federation of the Blind."
     In fact, Weihenmayer doesn't consider his blindness to be his biggest
 challenge, but rather the blooming flora that he will face during peak allergy
 season on Everest, which can present an even bigger obstacle for him.  In
 order to keep the symptoms of his seasonal allergies under control during the
 trek, Weihenmayer takes once daily Allegra(R) 180-mg tablets, a non-sedating
 antihistamine that provides seasonal allergy relief and helps him control the
 distraction his runny nose and itchy eyes can cause.
     "Allergies may seem like a minor nuisance, but they actually are a huge
 distraction, so I talked with my doctor about treatment options," said
 Weihenmayer, "I haven't let my blindness stop me from achieving my goals, so I
 was certainly not going to let my seasonal allergies stop me either."
 
     Weihenmayer and His Journey
     Weihenmayer, after losing his sight at age 13, has succeeded in climbing a
 number of difficult and technical peaks worldwide -- many of which had never
 been attempted by a blind person.  Bothered by seasonal allergy symptoms, he
 was diagnosed with seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR).  After trying many
 medications, Weihenmayer takes Allegra(R) (fexofenadine HCl) 180-mg for relief
 from his symptoms.
     A 32-year-old husband and father, Weihenmayer is an avid rock and ice
 climber who has successfully climbed four of the world's highest peaks
 including:  Mt. McKinley, Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, and most recently Vinson.
 He will be among an elite group of less than 100 climbers, including
 28 Americans, who have attempted to reach the highest points on the seven
 continents.  He recently authored a book called "Touch the Top of the World,"
 which chronicles some of his experiences.
     "The primary goal of this trek is not to put a blind climber on the
 summit, but to place a true team of climbers, one of whom happens to be blind,
 on top of the world," explains National Federation of the Blind President Marc
 Maurer.  "The climb will make a bold statement about the capabilities of blind
 people, their right to assume first-class citizenship, and the truth that,
 when given the proper training and opportunities, they can do just about
 anything."
 
     The National Federation of the Blind - Allegra(R) (fexofenadine HCl)
      180-mg 2001 Everest Expedition Background
 
     The newest sponsor, Allegra(R) (fexofenadine HCl) 180-mg, made by Aventis
 Pharmaceuticals, is supporting the 2001 Everest Expedition video documentary
 because Weihenmayer suffers from seasonal allergies -- something that millions
 of Americans suffer through each spring and fall.  The National Federation of
 the Blind is underwriting Weihenmayer's journey to the top of Everest to show
 that blind people can achieve remarkable things when given the chance and
 equipped with self-confidence.
     The National Federation of the Blind is a consumer-based organization of
 more than 50,000 blind people throughout the U.S.  Its primary purpose is to
 change what it means to be blind by changing people's attitudes about
 blindness.  Helping Weihenmayer climb Mt. Everest is one of the most effective
 ways to shatter the stereotypes associated with blind people.
     Allegra(R) 180-mg, is supporting the development of the documentary,
 "Vision of Everest," which will capture Weihenmayer's team as they climb Mt.
 Everest.  Designed to show the public that blind people have no boundaries
 when given an opportunity, the film will be released in spring 2002.
     Allegra(R) 180-mg, is a powerful, safe and effective non-sedating
 antihistamine for the treatment of symptoms in patients 12 years and older who
 have seasonal allergies.  Side effects with Allegra(R) 180-mg are low and may
 include headache, upper respiratory tract infection and back pain.
 Aventis Pharmaceuticals conducts the U.S. business of Aventis Pharma AG, the
 pharmaceutical company of Aventis S.A. (NYSE:   AVE).  Aventis Pharmaceuticals
 is dedicated to treating and preventing human disease through the discovery,
 development, manufacture and sale of innovative pharmaceutical products aimed
 at satisfying unmet medical needs.  Aventis Pharmaceuticals focuses on
 important therapeutic areas such as cardiology, oncology, infectious diseases,
 arthritis, allergies and respiratory disorders, diabetes, and central nervous
 system disorders.  The North America headquarters for Aventis Pharmaceuticals
 is in Bridgewater, N.J.
     Aventis Pharma comprises Aventis Pharmaceuticals; Aventis Pasteur, a world
 leader in vaccines, with corporate headquarters in Lyon, France; and Aventis
 Behring, a world leader in therapeutic proteins, with corporate headquarters
 in King of Prussia, Pa.  The North American headquarters of Aventis Pharma is
 in Frankfurt, Germany.
     One of the world's leading life sciences companies, Aventis S.A. is
 focused on two core business areas:  pharmaceuticals and agriculture.  With
 global headquarters in Strasbourg, France, Aventis employs around
 95,000 people in more than 120 countries.  Aventis was created in December
 1999 by the combination of Hoechst AG and Rhone-Poulenc, S.A.
 
     Statements in this news release other than historical information are
 forward-looking statements subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results
 could differ materially depending on factors such as the availability of
 resources, the timing and effects of regulatory actions, the strength of
 competition, the outcome of litigation and the effectiveness of patent
 protection. Additional information regarding risks and uncertainties is set
 forth in the current Annual Report on Form 20-F of Aventis on file with the
 Securities and Exchange Commission.
 
     Full prescribing information available by visiting the Aventis
 Pharmaceuticals U.S. Web site at http://www.aventispharma-us.com.  Also
 available at this U.S. Web site are copies of this release or any recent
 release, or call 800/207-8049.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X94446511
 
 SOURCE  Aventis Pharmaceuticals and National Federation of the Blind