Dolly Parton opens up about her niece’s childhood cancer Getty Images/Christopher Polk
Getty Images/Christopher Polk

There is a magic to Dolly Parton that makes everyone around her believe in miracles. And during an October appearance at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Dolly opened up about one of those miracles that she experienced firsthand.

“Many years ago, my little niece Hannah was diagnosed with leukemia and she was treated right here at this wonderful hospital,” Dolly told the audience as she sat alongside her now 28-year-old niece, Hannah Dennison, and her mother (and Dolly’s sister) Rachel Dennison in a YouTube video released on Dec. 12. “When Hannah was little, she had chemo and didn’t have any hair. Now look at all of her hair! All that treatment was here at Vanderbilt.”

As Dolly lovingly looked at her healthy niece, she continued.

RELATED: Trisha Yearwood made all our holiday dreams come true with this Dolly Parton cover

“She got well,” said Dolly, who included songs such as “Chemo Hero” and “Brave Little Soldier” on her new children’s album, “I Believe In You,” having been inspired by Hannah’s prior health struggles. “She was treated here for four years. Rachel and Hannah’s dad Richard [were] here all the time to take care of her. 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.”

“We were exhausted and we were frightened,” said Rachel. “But we had such good care. The doctors and nurses took us step-by-step what was going to happen, when and what to do.”

During the same visit to the hospital, Dolly proudly announced her surprise $1 million donation to the facility.

RELATED: Dolly Parton just topped this incredible list of power players

And while the incredible hospital played an important role in the healing for Hannah, Dolly has long spoken out about the role of her faith in everything she does.

“My faith has always been so important to me,” she said in a recent interview with CBN News. “I grew up in a very religious family. My grandpa was a preacher. I’m not religious as much as I am spiritual. I pray every day. I pray about everything. I ask God to lead me and guide me in all the decisions I make,  and to bring all the good and right people into my life and to let me do something to glorify God and uplift mankind.”


Of course, now that the holidays are upon us, Dolly sounds as if she is ready to relish the joy of the season. “I just love this time of year,” she tweeted on Dec. 13. “The season, spending time with family, the movies and the music! “

Indeed, Dolly’s heart shines all throughout the year, but it seems to shine even brighter during the holiday season. We all could learn something from her and her amazing attitude.

Tricia Despres is a senior correspondent for Rare Country, based out of Chicago. Join the conversation on Twitter at @RareCountry. We would love to see y’all there.
View More Articles

Stories You Might Like