In the fall 1974, Dolly Parton topped the Hot Country Songs chart with a single that would prove to be one her most iconic – “Love Is Like A Butterfly.” The song wound up inspiring the singer to adopt the insect as one her trademarks. Over forty years later, that tradition continues, as the Country Music Hall Fame member and her niece, Hannah Dennison, were honored in May 2018 at the dedication the newly named Hannah Dennison Butterfly Garden at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville.
The dedication came after Parton announced a $1 million gift to Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Cancer Program earlier this year while visiting patients with her niece. It’s a place that Parton’s family knows very well. Dennison was treated for leukemia as a child at Children’s Hospital for four years.
Parton said the gift was made “in honor 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 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 doctors and nurses that provide the best care, and it was the least I could do.”
The Hannah Dennison Butterfly Garden is located on the hospital’s second floor, also known as Main Street.
For their part, the Hospital is honored by Parton’s gift. “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 Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Dean the Vanderbilt University School Medicine.
“Dolly’s symbol is the butterfly, so it only seems fitting that The Hannah Dennison Butterfly Garden will become a focal point our hospital, fering 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. Check out video their visit above.