BSSF’s Dawn Keller wins President’s Humanitarian Award


Dawn Keller, a critical care specialist who never stops thinking about what she can do to help someone else, is this year’s recipient of the most prestigious honor awarded by Roper St. Francis, the President’s Humanitarian Award.

Keller received the award on Wednesday at Leadership Development Institute in front of about 350 RSF leaders.

“This is the most humbling thing I’ve experienced in my entire life,” Keller said in her acceptance speech. “I only do what I do because I love nursing. You have welcomed me like family, and it’s just been life changing.”

The award is given annually to a teammate who embodies our mission and standards of behavior through profession and personal contributions. Keller was nominated by her peers, and former recipients of this award selected Keller as their top choice. RSF President and Chief Executive Officer Lorraine Lutton announced Keller as this year’s winner and presented her with a $5,000 monetary award.

“Our President’s Humanitarian Award winners demonstrate a commitment to our mission not only at work, but also outside the walls of Roper St. Francis,” Lutton said. “They live it. Dawn is known for her relentless and unfailing commitment to help others, every single day of her life.”

Keller is a registered nurse who’s worked at Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital for the past five years. She successfully campaigned for continuous renal replacement therapy that benefited patients and our hospital, and she implemented “final check,” which led to a reduction in errors and better patient care.

Outside of work, Keller has a passion for helping those who are less privileged.

She mentors low-income, homeless or under-served kids at Seacoast Church’s North Charleston Dream Center.

She pioneered a reading program that helped struggling, high-poverty students become stronger readers at Goodwin Elementary in North Charleston.

She bought new clothes and toys for three needy children as part of a Giving Tree program and wanted to do more. So even though their real need was more expensive – beds – she promptly purchased and arranged the delivery of that basic necessity.

She often opens her home to teammates and their families to host birthday parties and baby showers, and she even covers the cost of catering the celebrations. One of her colleagues said that she cares for every teammate who she works with.

“If you’re her friend, you are her best friend,” said Mindy Cate, a quality improvement specialist at BSSF who submitted the nomination.

Keller has accomplished all of this despite a recurring battle with ovarian cancer. She is in her third round of treatment. It’s not something she talks about much, and she certainly never complains.

“She has often been seen working odd hours to make up for her chemo days and proudly sports her perfectly shaped bald head,” her nomination read. “Cancer and chemo have never been an excuse. They have simply been another chapter in her life.”

Keller’s daughter Danielle Lowell said that she and her two siblings recognize the generosity their mom demonstrates to her colleagues at work and joked about the attention others receive.

“She is such a good mom to us,” she said with a laugh. “But she’s OUR mom … Y’all need to back off. My mom doesn’t mess around. There is no changing her mind on one particular thing. If she has the opportunity to build a relationship, then that’s what she does. Relationships are what matter most to her.”







  1. Linda Cerceo says:

    thanks Dawn… for all you do for those in our shared world. congrats to you…be well.

  2. I could not think of a better nurse to receive this honor.

  3. Josephine B says:

    Congratulation, Dawn! You’re awesome 🙂

  4. Doreen Scott says:

    Congratulations! Thank you for being so inspiring.

  5. Lori Edgar FNP-BC says:

    Congratulations Dawn! You have such a good heart and those whom you care for are so blessed to cross paths with you! Well done!

  6. I have yet to meet a nurse more deserving. Congratulations Dawn, you are such an inspiration and positive role model.

  7. elaine sills says:

    Congratulations Dawn! So well deserved! Thank you for all you do!

  8. Emily Lynch says:

    Congratulations Dawn!! I and my family met Dawn for a short time last March when my husband was in RSFH. He passed away but Dawn was such a comfort to us. She didn’t know us but she came and was with us through the end. What an honor for an honorable and deserving woman. Thank you Dawn you were and are a blessing. Cookie Lynch and family.


  1. […] compassionate care of those who are less fortunate. She’s won the system’s highest honor, the President’s Humanitarian Award, for her work in helping others. […]

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