Legendary country music singer-songwriter Dolly Parton has made a generous gift to Vanderbilt University Medical Center that will increase scientific knowledge and advance the battle against COVID-19.

 

Parton made the gift in honor of her longtime friend, Naji Abumrad, MD, professor of Surgery, to support research teams who are working urgently to perfect treatments and cures for COVID-19.

In an appearance on NBC’s Today Show, Parton commented on the gift going to support research for a bridge treatment that will save lives until a vaccine is identified. “What better time right now, we need this. I felt like this was the time for me to open my heart and my hand, and try to help,” she said.

VUMC’s researchers are testing an array of already existing drugs in urgent clinical trials aimed at reducing life-threatening symptoms associated with COVID-19. In addition, investigators are focusing on entirely new therapies that could effectively treat and prevent the infection. Both strategies are aimed at providing a bridge for those infected, given a safe and effective vaccine is projected to be 12-18 months away.

“Dolly’s amazing generosity is a source of inspiration and will have a lasting impact on the battle against COVID-19. She cares so much about helping others and we are very grateful for her ongoing support. These funds will help us complete promising research that can benefit millions in their battle with the virus,” said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and CEO of VUMC and Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Parton has been a generous donor to VUMC. Among her gifts was a transformational contribution to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Pediatric Cancer Program in honor of Abumrad and her niece, Hannah Dennison, who was successfully treated for leukemia as a child at Children’s Hospital.

Support is critical in the fight against COVID-19. For more information about how your generosity can make an impact, please visit the Vanderbilt Health COVID-19 Fund website.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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