Country legend Dolly Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for pediatric infectious disease research.
“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 a press release on Wednesday.
The hefty gift will go towards research into learning how viruses and bacteria cause disease, preventing antibiotic resistance, diagnosing infections, and treating cancer in children, under the umbrella of the Nashville-based university’s Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases.
“We are deeply honored by Dolly’s contribution to our research mission,” said the program’s director Mark Denison, MD. “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’s previous $1 million donation to Vanderbilt University in April 2020, directly impacted the development of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, and she was credited in the New England Journal of Medicine for her contribution.
“When the pandemic came out, I just felt kind of led to do something because I knew something bad was on the rise, and I just wanted to kind of help with that, so I donated to help with that,” Parton said in an interview at the time. “Mine was a small part, of course.”
“I probably get a lot more credit than I deserve, but I was happy to be part of that and to be able to try to stop something in its tracks that’s really become such a monster for all of us,” Parton continued. “So I was happy to do that. My heart just kind of leads me into where I’m supposed go and what I’m supposed to do at the time.”
The school’s Dean of Medicine said that the “Jolene” singer’s support has saved “countless lives,” and her latest donation will bolster society’s defenses against future threats. “It speaks volumes about her passion for people, and we couldn’t be more thankful,” remarked Jeff Balser, MD, PhD.