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Artist's Statement: “Baby Mason, Day 1 of Life”

Macauley-Rambach, Shannon L.

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181dbfb2a
Other Features: Cover Art

Ms. Macauley-Rambach is a PhD candidate in neuroscience, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri.

As a PhD candidate in neuroscience and a researcher in the field of lysosomal storage diseases, I understand the fragility of human life and the potential for inborn errors to significantly affect the lives of children and their families. I strive daily to understand these rare disorders and their disease progression. I work diligently to develop therapies for these patients and to bring a modicum of comfort to them and their families.

Recently, however, I found myself in a different role; not of a researcher, but of a proud, new aunt. I was absolutely moved by the birth of my nephew, Mason. As a researcher, I understand so acutely how a single point mutation can take the life of a child and devastate a family. In the context of disease, I spend so much time trying to help fix what went wrong that I forget to appreciate how phenomenal it is when things go right. The recent birth of Mason—a beautiful, healthy baby boy—made me thoroughly appreciate the delicate balance between health and disease. It caused me to stop for a moment and appreciate a beautiful set of 10 little toes. It also provided me with a renewed vigor to help those without perfect toes, perfect bones, perfect hearts, or perfect brains. To me, this painting serves as a motivating reminder of all that we should cherish and of all the work that still needs to be done.

Figure. Bab

Figure. Bab

© 2010 Association of American Medical Colleges