Since last April they have practiced weekly by climbing Green Lane, a steep, half-mile hill in Manayunk. Once a month, they travel to the Poconos to practice.
"We're trying to show the abilities of the disabled," Swank said. "A lot of times we get from other people that we can't do anything."
Swank said the mistake most climbers make ascending Mount Kilimanjaro is moving too fast. They expect to start near the end of June.
"They get altitude sickness, fatigue and dizziness," he said. "Since we'll be moving at a slower pace, we won't have that problem."
The climbers' support group consists of assistant project coordinator Pamela J. Lacy, Dr. Guy W. Fried, registered nurses Karen Madzak-McCarron and Kelly L. Hill and trainer and therapist Paul Woodworth.
The group is calling its mission the "Independence Climb." Anyone wishing to be a sponsor may call 787-7099.
SALUTING MAHAFFEY, PISTONS
Former Phillies pitcher Art Mahaffey will receive the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association's Humanitarian Award for 1990 for his work to help former teammate Chris Short.
Mahaffey will be honored at the association's 87th awards dinner Jan. 28 at the Hyatt Cherry Hill.
The association will also present its Team of the Year award to the Detroit Pistons, who have won back-to-back NBA championships. Pistons general manager Jack McCloskey, a former University of Pennsylvania coach, will accept the award.
Short has been comatose since being stricken with a brain aneurysm in October 1988. To aid the Short family with health care costs, Mahaffey organized the Chris Short All-Star Golf Classic, which raised nearly $100,000 over the past two years.
Mahaffey and Short were teammates with the Phillies from 1960 through '65.
Ray Doyle (436-0512) has dinner ticket information.
SHARING THE LOAD
The Denver Nuggets' run-and-gun offense is primarily a test for defenses. But it also is a challenge for broadcasters.
When the Nuggets played the 76ers last Friday night, broadcasters Jon Gurevitch and Neil Funk decided to split the work. When the Sixers were on offense, Funk described the action on WIP (610-AM). When the Nuggets had the ball, Gurevitch did the play-by-play. In the second half, they switched teams.
"About a week before the game we came up with the idea," Gurevitch said. ''No. 1, I wasn't sure I could keep up with the pace. No. 2, I knew getting Neil in with the color commentary would be difficult.
"It went surprisingly smoothly, considering the wacky idea had never been tried before. We only stepped on each other three or four times. That's about
average for us."
CHANEY AT BOOK SIGNING
Temple basketball coach John Chaney will sign copies of the book about his '89-90 team, "Winning is an Attitude," today from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the university's Student Activities Center, 13th Street and Montgomery Avenue.
The book, published by St. Martin's Press, was written by Steve Wartenberg.
With the Owls off until Saturday, when they host Georgia Tech at McGonigle Hall, Chaney had a busy time yesterday promoting the book. His schedule included appearances on CNN, WFAN-AM in New York, with Edie Huggins on WCAU-TV and Bernie Herman on WWDB-FM.
TEMPLE GYMNASTS HONORED
Temple gymnasts Stephan Choiniere and Parry Dilworth have been named to the first All-America Scholar-Athlete team chosen by the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches. Choiniere, from South Burlington, Vt., is a senior painting major with a 3.79 grade point average. Dilworth, from St. Paul, Minn., is a senior biology major with a 3.69 GPA.
7 PSAC ALL-STARS
Seven area players have been selected to the All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Eastern Division team.
Heading the list are unanimous choices Ron Curry, a 6-3, 240-pound defensive lineman from Cheyney, and Millersville's Tom Burns (Pennsbury High), a 6-2, 270-pound guard. Curry and linemate James Williams (6-9, 320) are repeat selections.
The remaining first-team all-stars are Mansfield quarterback Bill Bair, Ridley, defensive backs Curtis Bunch (George Washington), East Stroudsburg, and Tony Devine (Bristol), Millersville, and center Tom Ferguson (Upper Moreland), East Stroudsburg.
Shippensburg running back Bill Pettyjohn (Chester) and placekicker Howard Guarini (Council Rock) are first-team Western Division choices.
Second-team Eastern players include Millersville quarterback Chris Fagan (Father Judge) and Cheyney's M.L. Jackson (George Washington).
Kutztown quarterback Andy Breault and Bloomsburg receiver Stef Kern were named the Eastern Co-Players of the Year.
JUSTICE IS SERVED
Paul Justice won the inaugural 5-mile Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis on Sunday at Belmont Plateau in Fairmount Park.
Justice's winning time was 28 minutes, 42 seconds. Carlos Winclan was runner-up in 29:05.
Jan Yerkes, the top female finisher in the 10-mile Broad Street Run last May, was in winning form in the Jingle Bell with a 31:53 run. Mary Tallon was second in 33:27.
The Vanguard Group won the team title. Phillies broadcaster Andy Musser was clocked in 49:20.
A spokesperson for the Arthritis Foundation and Children's Seashore House said almost $13,000 was raised.