Dolly Parton’s visit to the Monroe Carell Jr. Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville on Friday (Oct. 13) was the medicine the country music community needed following the tragedy at the Route 91 Harvest music festival.
The visit served as the official album launch for her first children’s collection I Believe in You and included a big check donation of $1 million to the facility.
Parton’s niece Hannah Dennison, daughter of her sister Rachel and longtime band member Richard Dennison, spent years battling leukemia at Vanderbilt. Today, Hannah is a healthy young woman, and Dolly wanted to bring their story of hope to patients in treatment at the hospital.
During a Facebook Live Q&A at the hospital’s Seacrest Studios, Parton took several questions from patients that ranged from an invention she couldn’t live without (the television), her favorite place to perform (Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium) and whether she’d rather deliver babies or pizza (Neither – she’d rather sing).
“I’d probably take the pizza because I’m a pig at heart,” Parton joked.
The country legend was also asked to give her advice on writing music and poems to help patients through treatment.
“I really am inspired and touched by everything and everybody that I see,” she said. “And when I was writing, especially these children’s songs, it’s a little different than the way I usually write songs because I love kids and I’m really close to my family.
“So, I have playhouses and tree houses on my properties and so when I was writing a lot of these children’s songs, I went into the playhouses and treehouses to write these [songs]. But I wanted to write songs not just to uplift the children but also to uplift the moms and dads and the grandparents that listen to these songs, especially this day in time. I think we need all the brightness that we can get. So these songs I wanted to uplift the kids and to bring some brightness to them.”
Proceeds from I Believe In You will support Parton’s literacy program, the Imagination Library. Since its 1995 inception, the program has distributed more than 100 million age-appropriate books to children around the world.