Even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the U.S., optimism about a number of new vaccines is growing — and that’s partly thanks to the great Dolly Parton.
Back in April, the icon announced she was donating $1 million to researchers at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University to help find a cure, and now it seems like the investment has paid off. Pharmaceutical company Moderna recently announced a newly developed vaccine candidate that is nearly 95 percent effective at preventing the disease — news that could finally help bring the coronavirus nightmare to a close — and Parton’s donation helped make it happen.
“My longtime friend Dr. Naji Abumrad, who’s been involved in research at Vanderbilt for many years, informed me that they were making some exciting advancements toward that research of the coronavirus for a cure,” Parton said on Instagram, just as the country braced for the pandemic’s first wave. “I am making a donation of $1 million to Vanderbilt toward that research and to encourage people that can afford it to make donations.”
Now the fund Parton established is listed in a report on the new vaccine in the New England Journal of Medicine, appearing alongside other supporters like the National Institutes of Health, Emory University and others. It looks like Dolly Parton has helped save the world … but really, should we be surprised?
Parton has stepped up and put her own money on the line over and over again, most recently when a wildfire destroyed much of the Smoky Mountain area where she grew up in 2017. That donation gave anyone in need $1,000 a month until they could get back on their feet, and she’s also donated heavily cancer research at Vanderbilt — even going so far as to build an entire butterfly garden at the hospital. But this fight against COVID-19 may take the cake. One million dollars well spent!