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Dolly Parton and niece Hannah Dennison honored at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt

May. 21, 2018, 3:46 PM

Following the Hannah Dennison Butterfly Garden dedication at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Dolly Parton and her niece, Hannah, visit with patients in Seacrest Studios. (photo by John Russell)

by Paige Turner

Legendary country music singer-songwriter Dolly Parton and her niece, Hannah Dennison, were honored May 17 at the dedication of the newly named Hannah Dennison Butterfly Garden at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

The dedication came after Parton announced a $1 million gift to Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Cancer Program last October while visiting patients with her niece, Dennison, who was treated for leukemia as a child at Children’s Hospital for four years, beginning in 1993.

Parton said the gift was made “in honor of my niece Hannah, my sister Rachel, Hannah’s dad, Richard, and Dr. Naji Abumrad.”

“It was important to me to make a donation to the Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt because of Hannah’s care and just how well they do for everyone,” Parton said. “It’s been a good hospital for us. This is just a great group of doctors and nurses that provide the best of care, and it was the least I could do.”

The Hannah Dennison Butterfly Garden is located on the second floor of Children’s Hospital. (photo by John Russell)

The Hannah Dennison Butterfly Garden is located on the hospital’s second floor, also known as Main Street.

“Dolly is known the world over for her kind and generous spirit. We are incredibly grateful for the support that she, her sister Rachel and niece Hannah have shown for Children’s Hospital and our programs in childhood cancer,” said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

“Dolly’s symbol is the butterfly, so it only seems fitting that The Hannah Dennison Butterfly Garden will become a focal point of our hospital, offering patients and families an important respite while they are here.”

Following the presentation, Parton and Dennison visited with patients in Seacrest Studios at Children’s Hospital, where they answered questions, posed for photos and even celebrated Dennison’s 30th birthday with balloons and treats.

Parton’s gift will help Children’s Hospital care for even more children and adolescents with cancer.

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