Thursday, June 02, 2022
Beaumont doctor gives back to hospital that gave so much to his family
Beaumont Hospital, Dearborn, is like a second home to diagnostic radiologist Dr. Donald Conn.
“I grew up with that hospital,” Dr. Conn said.
Not only was he born there, as Dearborn was the go-to hospital in his family for generations, but his late wife, Dr. Sheryl Conn, also gave birth to their two children there. Both Drs. Conn even completed their medical residencies at Beaumont, Dearborn.
“Both Sheryl and I wanted to give back to the hospital that has contributed so much toward our careers and personal lives,” he said.
Together, the Conns decided to make a positive, longstanding impact on Dearborn hospital in the form of a tranquility courtyard and garden.
The inspiration came when Sheryl was battling cancer, and Dr. Conn longed for a quiet, peaceful outdoor space to reflect and clear his mind at Dearborn.
Unfortunately, Sheryl passed away before Dr. Conn was able to initiate researching for the artwork, but he knew she would enjoy something abstract and uplifting.
“Sheryl and I agreed on the concept of the tranquility garden, and her excitement to do it made it that much more special to me and my kids,” he said.
Dr. Conn chose Matthew Placzek, a monumental sculpture artist based in Omaha, Nebraska, to bring their vision to life. Placzek has created art for hospitals, zoos and universities across the globe. One of his fortes is butterflies, which offer a sense of peace and hope, something Dr. Conn believes we could all use. Dr. Conn said he is proud to contribute in a way that touches someone’s feelings and emotions.
The project was completed in two phases. The first phase is an outdoor tranquility garden complete with a large butterfly sculpture, landscaping and benches.
“My intent is to help people soul-search,” Dr. Conn said. “I want them to have a space to be able to reflect and just decompress.”
The second phase - a view-only butterfly courtyard - sits in the middle of Dearborn’s bustling main hallway, encased by glass windows. Both areas are tied together with Placzek’s captivating butterfly sculptures.
“Since its completion, I’ve been thanked by several employees and random family members who have walked the hallway, finding themselves smiling and being inspired,” he said.
When asked what his wife Sheryl would think of its completion, Dr. Conn said she would be incredibly proud to know that we as a family saw the project through and would have loved the beauty and peacefulness of the artwork and garden.
“Sheryl was a very kind and giving person,” he added. “As a family practitioner, she would spend quality time with every patient. She was a giver in medicine. She gave back to the community and also enjoyed medical mission work. This really is a culmination of how she practiced and how she lived her life.”