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Patient Success Story – Meghan Buchanan

Meghan Buchanan is a remarkable Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurology (VSON) success story. Her philosophy, “Choose to rise,” aligns perfectly with the VSON mission to “return patients to the activities they love.” Meghan embodies that vision. This update to Meghan’s story – with thanks to VSON, Dr. Cunningham, Dr. Dorf, and their expert teams – demonstrates how persevering pays off.

Meghan’s Initial Story

We first caught up with Meghan in her VSON patient story, How Dr. Cunningham Helped Meghan Buchanan Return to Summiting Mountains, where we learned about her devastating femur fracture back in 2011. This severe injury led to 18 months of extreme, constant pain, and after a full two years of rehabilitation, Meghan made the decision to hike The Seven Summits. The Seven Summits involves summiting the highest peaks on each continent – a mountain climber’s grand quest and a remarkable goal for any athlete.

Where Is Meghan Now?

Now, look how far Meghan has come. Meghan completed The Seven Summits in 2022 – summiting the tallest (Mount Everest, 29,032’) and smallest (Mount Kosciuszko, 7,310’) ascents within months of each other – a personal challenge given the rigor of Mount Everest, but nothing slows Meghan down.

“I summited Mt Vinson, Mt Everest, and Kosciuszko all in the same year while under VSON’s care,” Meghan says. “Dr. Cunningham treated me for IT Band Friction syndrome, allowing me to get through back-to-back climbs, and Dr. Dorf treated me for the frostbite on my right hand, which I got on Vinson. He healed me up within three months so I could climb Everest (frostbite treatment usually takes six months). Amazing effort by VSON to get me up Everest and on for more!”

Meghan quickly reset her adventurer’s goal by adding The Explorer’s Grand Slam to her adventurer itinerary. This adds the North and South Poles to the Seven Summits. Meghan completed the South Pole trek and is heading out for her journey to the North Pole this spring.

How Does Meghan Do It?

At VSON, we are grateful to provide the expert orthopaedic care that got Meghan back to summiting peaks. Recently, Meghan visited Dr. Cunningham in preparation for her final Grand Slam trek. We recognize and celebrate Meghan’s “grit,” which contributes to her remarkable achievements. Her philosophy to “Choose to rise” has evolved into her motto GGRIT! In her determination to overcome every obstacle and challenge, Meghan has developed a personal definition for the concept of GGRIT: gratitude, growth, resilience, integrity, and tenacity. As she describes it, just, “Do this one step… and build that confidence within yourself.”

Meghan is a true inspiration, and VSON is cheering you on all of your next steps!

Follow Meghan’s final Grand Slam at @ggrit and learn what’s next for this unstoppable adventurer. Watch this space for updates on the amazing Meghan Buchanan, an outstanding VSON success story!


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