NORTH MATEWAN - Several local musicians are getting together to hold a benefit concert for a young 14-year old cancer patient from the area, Ryan Dotson.
Dotson has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment at the University of Kentucky. He is a student at Mingo Central High School. Before that, he attended Matewan Middle School where he played football.
The Dotson family lives at North Matewan. His mother Andreana Dotson said he started playing football in the Matewan Little League when he was 5-years old. He has a birthday coming up on October 10, so he will turn 15 then. Ryan also has played baseball since he was five. His football coaches were the late John Fry, Ricky Thornsbury, Jimmy Keatley and Tim Collins.
“John Fry was someone he looked up too,” his mother said. “He was devastated when he passed away. They retired Ryan’s number 52 football jersey at Matewan Middle School. “
“He loves playing football most of all,” she added.
Local musician L.E. Simpkins is organizing the event, which will be held on Saturday Oct. 13, at 7:00 p.m. at the Magnolia Fairgrounds Rotary Pavilion located near Matewan on Rt. 49.
“We’ll be having a benefit for ‘the man of steel’, a true hero, Ryan Dotson, who is stomping out his cancer,” Simpkins said. “I, along with some friends, Glen Simpson and Glen Dillon will perform.”
All are very talented local singer-songwriters and have put out several CD’s. Also, a native of the area, Greg “Jeep” White, who now resides in Charleston, South Carolina, will perform his original songs from his recent CD “Low Country.”
A great selection of country songs and mountain music will be sung by the local artists. Simpkins and Jim Charles of Charlotte, North Carolina will play a short set of instrumental songs from their CD “Time,” which dates back four decades.
“Now you know how old we are,” Simpkins said with a laugh. Other performers will include short sets with long time guitar players, singers and songwriters Lewis McCoy and Tom Baize, along with Jimmy Vance, a vocalist from Gilbert. “This will be some good old rock-n- roll,” Simpkins said. “Then near the end of the show there will be a dedication to Ryan and his family with the song ‘Let it Be,’ which I’m sure you remember is a popular song by the Beatles.”
“All of our performers will be on stage at that point for one big band,” he added.
A donation of $5 per person will be asked at the gate. Children 12-and-under get in free. There will also be a concession stand and all proceeds will go towards Ryan’s medical bills.
The performers will have their CDs available and any proceeds will go towards Ryan’s medical fund.
Simpkins thanked several sponsors for the benefit which include: David Akers, David “Dadoo” Cook, Linda’s Video and Lottery, Tony Carico, Tony’s Body Shop, Elizabeth Smith of Forest Hills Quilting, RC’s Country Store, Keith and Paula Blankenship, and the Matewan Rotary Club for their support and use of the venue.
“We want to see a lot of folks there and hope this will be a successful benefit,” Simpkins said. “I hope everyone will help spread the word.”