Skip to main content

Dolly’s Children’s Hospital visit highlights strong ties

Posted by on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 in Around the Medical Center, Winter 2018 .

During her visit to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, country music legend Dolly Parton took part in an on-air interview at Seacrest Studios that was simulcast to four other children’s hospitals in the United States. Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images.

To celebrate the release of her first children’s album, “I Believe in You,” legendary country music singer-songwriter Dolly Parton visited Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in October 2017 and performed songs from the album for patients, their families and hospital staff.

Parton specifically wrote the song “Chemo Hero” to honor one of her nieces, Hannah Dennison, who was treated for leukemia at Children’s Hospital for four years, beginning in 1993.

“My niece Hannah was treated for leukemia here when she was 4. She’s 29 now. She’s a picture of hope, and she’s my little Chemo Hero, which is one of the songs on the album I wrote for her. It was just a special day to be here at Vanderbilt because everybody took such good care of her when she was here,” Parton said.

After leading the crowd in a sing-along performance of “Chemo Hero,” Parton surprised the crowd by announcing a $1 million gift to Children’s Hospital “in honor of my niece Hannah, my sister Rachel, Hannah’s dad, Richard, and Dr. Naji Abumrad (Parton’s Vanderbilt physician).”

“Today was a very wonderful day for us at the hospital,” said Meg Rush, MD, Chief of Staff and Executive Medical Director of Children’s Hospital. “Dolly has a special personal connection with the work we do every day because of her niece Hannah. Her experience, combined with Dolly’s true passion to bring self-belief and hope to children through her music, truly came to life as Dolly visited the children in our infusion clinic.”