UK HealthCare

Big Blue Family VIDEO: Act of Giving Impacts Three Generations of Dawson Family

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 24, 2014) — There is a phone call Point of Care Ultrasound Director and Assistant Emergency Medicine Program Director Dr. Matthew Dawson will never forget. 

While he was a medical resident in Utah, his father Stewart Dawson, then the chaplain for the Lexington Fire Department, called to ask him about a bispectral index monitor – more commonly called a BIS monitor.    

His father had helped to organize Lexington’s “Race to Remember” as a tribute to those lost in the Sept. 11 attacks.  The money raised in the event would go to meet the needs of Kentucky Children's Hospital  (KCH), and that monitor was on their wish list. 

The firefighters ended up donating money to go toward the monitors, which help anesthetists and caregivers measure an indication of patients' consciousness while under anesthesia.  UKNow reported on the donations back in 2010.

Dr. Dawson hadn’t heard of the piece of equipment and says he really didn’t give the conversation any more thought. 

Fast forward a couple of years later, when Matthew Dawson, and his wife, Dr. Kristin Dawson, and their two children are living in Lexington.

When their daughter Avery was an infant, she suddenly became very ill and was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit at KCH. 

“She was ventilated for six days before we knew exactly what was wrong with her,” said Kristin Dawson, who most recently completed her child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at UK.  “It was an incredibly scary and difficult time for our family.”

As little Avery fought an eventual diagnosis of infant botulism, the staff at KCH utilized a piece of equipment that Matthew Dawson had never seen before.  But he immediately recalled hearing about it. 

“I remembered that conversation with my father, and I never thought I would hear about it again, until the day they brought it into Avery’s room,” Matthew Dawson said. 

The BIS monitor, that same piece of equipment his own father had been so interested in, was now being used to treat the Dawsons' daughter.

Watch the video above to discover how an act of philanthropy spearheaded by a grandfather would end up directly helping his own granddaughter at Kentucky Children’s Hospital. 

The Lexington Fire Department still holds the race each September in its efforts to give back to children being treated at KCH.

For more information on the race and its history of giving back, visit: 

For more information about giving to Kentucky Children’s Hospital, visit:

This video feature is a “Big Blue Family” follow up to a story UKNow first published in May about the Dawsons, who you may remember are a couple who met at the William T. Young Library and married while attending the UK College of Medicine.  


This story is part of a special new series (see video below) produced by UKNow focusing on families who help make up the University of Kentucky community. There are many couples, brothers and sisters, mothers and sons and fathers and daughters who serve at UK in various fields.   The idea is to show how UK is part of so many families’ lives and how so many families are focused on helping the university succeed each and everyday. 

Since the "Big Blue Family" series is a monthly feature on UKNow, we invite you to submit future ideas.  If you know of a family who you think should be featured, please email us.  Who knows?  We might just choose your suggestion for our next feature!

VIDEO CONTACTS:  Amy Jones,-Timoney, 859-257-1754 OR Kody Kiser, 859-257-5282,