MADISON, Wis. — A top UW Health neonatologist couldn’t turn down a Madison-area organization’s unique request.
Besides spending long days as division chair at the hospital, Dr. Ryan McAdams unwinds from the stressful position by painting.
"I got started in painting during medical school. I thought it might be a way to help me process what I was seeing," McAdams said.
As he continued, he said his purpose became clear.
"To show non-medical people what it’s like to take care of critically ill babies," he said.
Sadly, the expert knows the littlest doesn't always make it so, during one recent overnight, he created an original work called: ‘The Butterfly’s Journey.’
The piece he hopes will help grieving parents cope with unthinkable sorrow.
"There's a number of butterflies and they're flying out of a baby's bassinet off into the world and to me. It symbolized the hopes and the dreams and the excitement of life. And then there's also the fragility of a butterfly and the beauty of a butterfly, which is not too dissimilar to a premature baby," McAdams said.
The painting will be auctioned off this Saturday night at the Alana Rose Foundation's 2nd annual "Butterfly Ball."
Founder Kim Whitmore lost her daughter, Alana Rose, two years ago and asked McAdams if he'd consider creating a piece to help grieving families.
She said when she first picked up the painting, she had to take a moment to take all the details in.
"The story behind the painting, and how his personal experience working with mothers and babies who have been lost or stillbirth is just so touching and it just brought me so many floods of emotion, both joy and beauty and the artwork that he did and also just the incredible sadness behind the stories of loss that come along with that as well," Whitmore said.
The painting hopes to bring in money for the Alana Rose Foundation to help families transform after a loss.
The funds raised benefit Meriter's Pregnancy and Infant Loss Program along with Harambee Village Doulas.