NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Dolly Parton has donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to help fund the fight against serious infectious diseases in children. The funds will be used for pediatric infectious disease research, the university said in a press release.
“I love all children. No child should ever have to suffer, and I’m willing to do my part to try and keep as many of them as I can as healthy and safe as possible,” Parton said in the release.
Parton’s fame grew even brighter during the pandemic after a $1 million donation to VUMC funded research that advanced the battle against COVID-19 — resulting in the Moderna vaccine. The donation in April 2020 honored her friend, Dr. Naji Abumrad, a professor of surgery.
“We are deeply honored by Dolly’s contribution to our research mission,” said Dr. Mark Denison, professor of Pediatrics and director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. “For over 40 years our division has been a national and international leader in studies for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of life-threatening infections, and this gift will accelerate our work and support new ideas.”
Parton has also donated to the Monroe Carell Jr Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Pediatric Cancer Program in honor of Abumrad and her niece Hannah Dennison, who was successfully treated for leukemia at Children’s Hospital.
“Dolly’s previous support to infectious disease research, and also our pediatric cancer program, has already saved countless lives,” said Dr. Jeff Balser, President and CEO of VUMC and Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “This new gift will bolster our defenses against future threats to the safety of this region and society as a whole. It speaks volumes about her passion for people, and we couldn’t be more thankful.”
Parton has also supported Sevier County hospital, in her hometown of Sevierville. In 2007, she raised $1 million for a new hospital. The LeConte Medical Center opened in 2010 and is home to the Dolly Parton Center for Women’s Services.
It’s been a busy year for Parton, who launched a book and album with James Patterson called ‘Run Rose Run.’ The book will be made into a movie with Sony Pictures. Next up, Parton will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Nov. 5, in Los Angeles, despite first humbly bowing out of consideration.