If this COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna ends up working out, be sure to add Dolly Parton to your gratitude list. The Guardian reports that Parton’s donation of $1 million to coronavirus vaccine research was used in part to support the development of Moderna’s vaccine, which boasts a 95 percent protection rate against the deadly virus. Parton’s donation has also supported convalescent plasma therapy (in which COVID-19 patients are treated with plasma from a person with antibodies) and numerous research papers on the virus. The country music icon made her donation back in April after a discussion with her friend Dr. Naji Abumrad from the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation at Vanderbilt University in Parton’s home state of Tennessee. Abumrad, who met the singer in 2014 when she received treatment at the hospital for injuries related to a car accident, told Parton that “some exciting advancements” were being made in pursuit of a vaccine, encouraging her donation.
In addition to supporting the development of a G.D. vaccine for this G.D. virus that has consumed every facet of our waking lives, Parton is the creator of the Imagination Library, which sends a monthly free book to children ages birth to five in participating cities in the U.S. and overseas. Parton began the charity project as a way to help the kids in her hometown of Sevier County, Tennessee—known as one of the poorest cities in the country. This year Parton has also blessed us with her 47th studio album, A Holly Dolly Christmas, and the upcoming Netflix musical Dolly Parton’s Christmas On The Square, co-starring Christine Baranski. Oh, and she also apparently co-produced Buffy The Vampire Slayer. So thank her for that, too.