Dolly Parton Donates $1 Million To Children's Hospital In Honor Of Her 'Chemo Hero' Niece

"This ain’t about me — it’s about them."

Country music icon Dolly Parton is known for doing good, but her latest charitable act hits closest to home. On Thursday, May 17, the 71-year-old singer donated $1 million to Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt to honor her niece, Hannah Dennison. Parton made the donation in early celebration of Dennison's 30th birthday on Sunday — a birthday the "Imagination" singer and her family thought they might never see. 

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"Twenty-six years ago is when Hannah was diagnosed with leukemia and for five years we didn't know if we'd be keeping her or not," Parton told a room of doctors, nurses, patients, and families, according to News Channel 5. "But Hannah now stands here as our chemo hero. She shows that miracles do happen with good care, great doctors, and great nurses."

Parton with her sister Rachel (left) and "Chemo Hero" niece Rachel 

The generous decision was not a spur-of-the-moment one. Last fall, the recording artist visited the hospital to release her first-ever children's album and decided to donate $1 million to the hospital then. Proceeds from Parton's children's album — which features the song "Chemo Hero" — will go toward her literacy program, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. That initiative has already donated more than 100 million books to children around the world.

"It's so important to take care of children whether they're sick or whether they're well, especially when they are not feeling good," she told The Outlaw 100.7 FM. "That's something that will help a little bit. This ain't about me — it's about them."

Nonetheless, the Children's Hospital thanked Parton, Dennison, and their family for the generous donation by dedicating its second-floor butterfly garden to Dennison. "Now that we have Hannah's butterfly garden, we may come up and do little shows now and then and bring some joy to the kids," Parton told News Channel 5. "Or just come up and say, 'Hey, I got my guitar, want to sing some songs?' Bring a few smiles to the kids faces." 

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