Dolly Parton donates $1 million towards pediatric infectious disease research

Dolly Parton has given us all yet another reason to love her. The singer-songwriter recently donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to help fund research for pediatric infectious diseases.

In 2020, Parton gifted VUMC $1 million in honor of her longtime friend, Naji Abumrad, MD, professor of surgery, to be used for coronavirus research.

“I love all children,” she said in a press release. “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.”

This isn’t the first time Parton, 76, has made a donation for pediatric research. In 2018 she gifted the Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Cancer Program at VUMC $1 million.

She made the donation in honor of her niece who received treatment from the program after she was diagnosed with leukemia in 1993.

“It was important to me to make a donation to the Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt because of Hannah’s care and just how well they do for everyone,” Parton said at the time. “It’s been a good hospital for us. This is just a great group of doctors and nurses that provide the best of care, and it was the least I could do.”

 Mark Denison, MD, professor of Pediatrics and director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, said the program is extremely grateful for Parton’s generous donation.

“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.”

Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and CEO of VUMC and Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, noted that her gift “speaks volumes about her passion for people.”

Parton, a philanthropist for many years, has previously made significant donations. Following wildfires in Tennessee she pledged to donate $1,000 a month for six months, and in 2007 she raised $1 million to build a new hospital and cancer center in Sevier County, Tennessee.

Dolly is an incredibly generous human being; there is no one else like her. She’s someone I aspire to be like, and I wish others would too.

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