Consultant conquers Kilimanjaro to support local hospice A West Midlands hospital consultant has conquered Africa’s highest peak to raise over £3,000 for charity. Mr Raj Patel is a consultant surgeon in Laparoscopic and Colorectal surgery and is based at the private hospital in Halesowen and Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley. The consultant climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise money for Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice – an organisation which is close to his heart because of the care they provided to his mother some years ago. The general surgery expert teamed up with a group from the UK who climbed up to the mountain’s summit during the week-long trip organised and co-ordinated by Action Challenge. He prepared for the trek by doing regular long distance walks in the Peak District, Snowdonia and the Malvern Hills to build up his fitness and stamina. West Midlands Hospital has supported the long serving consultant in his quest by donating £200 to Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice. Mount Kilimanjaro rises to 5,895 metres (29,200 Feet) above sea level and is a popular climbing destination. Raj Patel, said: “it was a hard challenge but it was an amazing experience with the trek starting at 2000 metres above sea level with a gradual ascent to get acclimatised over a 5 day period. “Camping each night on hard cold sloping surfaces with temperatures below zero was the hardest part and experiencing high temperatures during the day whilst trekking for 14-15 hours was exhausting but it was worth it for such a good cause. “The view at the top was breathtaking and it feels great to have completed this challenge with such a fantastic group of people and very helpful and supportive local Tanzanian mountain guides. “I’ve trekked across the Himalayas in Tibet and I love walking and hiking in my spare time but this was a different experience both mentally and physically. It was challenging, especially on summit night, when we started out in the night to avoid the hot sun. We reached the summit at dawn and saw fantastic views of the sunrise at the top of Africa's highest peak - looking down at the clouds and the glacier was just amazing." Raj added: “I’m extremely grateful to everyone who has supported me with this adventure. Emily Boate from Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice sent warm congratulations from all the staff at the Hospice, saying how grateful they are for the support and to receive over £3,000."