The country music icon on Wednesday revealed plans to donate $1 million to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, where “exciting advancements” in coronavirus research were being made. The announcement came one day before Thursday’s premiere of “Goodnight With Dolly,” a weekly children’s video series in which she reads different kids books as “a welcomed distraction during a time of unrest.”
In an Instagram post Wednesday, Parton credited her “good friend” Dr. Naji Abumrad at Vanderbilt with his research on COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Their friendship dates back to 2014 when Parton was treated at the hospital after being involved in a car accident. And Abumrad’s son, Radiolab host Jad Abumrad, interviewed Parton for “Dolly Parton’s America,” a nine-part podcast series that debuted to great acclaim last year.
Appearing on “The Today Show” Thursday to promote “Goodnight with Dolly,” Parton said the elder Abumrad had been working on a “bridge treatment to save lives” as research into a vaccine for COVID-19 continues to progress.
“Right now we need this,” she told “The Today Show.” “Anybody that can afford it ― we’ve got more money than we’ve got time right now, so we need to find this treatment. So I just felt like this was the time for me to open my heart and my hand.”
While fears over the coronavirus may be preventing her from taking the stage, Parton is also slated to pay tribute to her longtime pal Kenny Rogers, who died March 20, next week as part of a CMT special.
“CMT Giants Kenny Rogers: A Benefit For MusiCares,” which airs April 8, will feature video interviews and performances from a bevy of stars, including Gavin DeGraw, Lady Antebellum and Lionel Richie.
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