2023 Grad Reaches Physical and Academic Peaks

When Hayden Bush, D.P.M.’23, passed the halfway point of his fourth year at DMU, he wanted to celebrate by “doing something big, like flying to the moon.”

Since that isn’t yet an option, he set his sights on topping Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa at 19,341 feet.

His group was accompanied by a lead guide, four assistant guides, two chefs and 32 porters who carried all the tents, food, water and other supplies. They also taught the group about their culture.

They began the trek in a rainforest “with monkeys throwing nuts at us” and proceeded through scrublands, forests and deserts. They began climbing at 1 a.m. to push to their goal, Kilimanjaro’s rocky, icy summit.

“From base camp to the summit is 15,500 feet, less than three miles. Easy, right?” Bush jokes. “To get to the summit, you begin in the pitch black. It’s cold, you’re very tired. Then we got to the top just as the sun was rising, which was a huge boost to our morale.”

He carried a DMU bandana the entire trek, which sparked conversations with porters and other climbers about blisters, sprains, medications for altitude sickness and other medical topics.

“I was the go-to guy. I felt confident I could help in my field,” he says. “Medical school has been a mountain unto itself, and I wanted to finish with a physical representation of that. I will always be grateful for my time at DMU.”

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