Dolly’s Children’s Hospital visit highlights strong ties
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.”