Music icon Dolly Parton, already famous for her generous spirit, has donated $1 million to support pediatric infectious disease research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
The country superstar's donation will support the fight against diseases such as COVID-19 as well as help researchers prevent and understand antibiotic resistance and diagnose and treat infections in children who are fighting cancer.
"I love children," Dolly said in a statement. "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."
Mark Denison, M.D., professor of pediatrics and director of the division of pediatric infectious diseases said the university was "deeply honored" by Parton's donation and that the gift would "accelerate" the work the institution has been doing for more than 40 years and "support new ideas."
Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2020 to help researchers develop the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. She has also made major contributions to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt Pediatric Cancer Program.
Jeff Balser, M.D, Ph.D., president and CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said Parton's various donations over the years have "already saved countless lives" and "[speak] volumes about her passion for people."
Parton's generosity toward children doesn't stop there. She established the Imagination Library in 1995 as a way to promote literacy, gifting a free book each month to children under 5 years old. Since its founding, the program has donated more than 150 million books to kids around the world.