Dolly Parton Donates $1 Million To Pediatric Infectious Disease Research: ‘No Child Should Ever Have To Suffer’

Dolly Parton with Naji Abumrad, MD; Photo Courtesy Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton with Naji Abumrad, MD; Photo Courtesy Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton with Naji Abumrad, MD; Photo Courtesy Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton has donated $1 million to the pediatric infectious disease research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. A press release issued on Wednesday (June 15) confirmed the generous donation. 

“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 shared in a statement. 

“We are deeply honored by Dolly’s contribution to our research mission,” Mark Denison, MD, professor of Pediatrics and director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, added. “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.”

According to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center website, “ongoing research in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases includes understanding how viruses and bacteria cause disease, understanding and preventing resistance to antibiotics, preventing and treating infections, diagnosing and treating infections in children with cancer and research to define the impact of childhood infections throughout the world.” 

Dolly Parton; Photo Courtesy of Getty Images for ACM
Dolly Parton; Photo Courtesy of Getty Images for ACM

This isn’t the first time Parton has donated to VUMC. In April of 2020, the country music icon donated $1 million to help support research surrounding COVID-19 treatments and cures. The donation was in honor of the “9 to 5” singer’s longtime friend, Naji Abumrad, MD, professor of Surgery. 

Parton previously contributed to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Pediatric Cancer Program in honor of Abumrad and her niece, Hannah Dennision. When she was a child, Dennison was successfully treated for leukemia at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital.

Dolly Parton; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Dolly Parton; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

“Dolly’s previous support to infectious disease research, and also our pediatric cancer program, has already saved countless lives,” said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, 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.”

Dolly Parton is known for her philanthropy. As of May 2022, her Imagination Library has gifted over 182,571,673 free books to children worldwide. She has also supported a number of causes throughout her career, including the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

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