Back in 2013, Dolly Parton and her best friend Judy Ogle were involved in a minor car crash in Nashville, which led Dolly to Vanderbilt Medical Center to be checked out for minor injuries. That’s when she met Dr. Naji Abumrad, a physician and professor of surgery.
Dolly described the accident to Country Weekly (now out of business) in 2013, “Judy, my best friend, and I were heading to the studio to finish up Blue Smoke, my record, and this lady just pulled out in front of us and we hit her. It wasn’t that hard. Thank goodness we weren’t going that fast.”
Abumrad admits he didn’t know anything about Dolly, but they soon became friends after their talks about current events and science.
It was that bond that lead to Parton’s $1 million donation to Vanderbilt for coronavirus research, made in honor of Abumrad, partially funded the biotechnology firm Moderna’s COVID vaccine, which a preliminary analysis released this week found is nearly 95 percent effective at preventing the illness.
Abumrad told The Washington Post that he was elated over his friend’s contribution to the early stages of a vaccine that eventually received nearly $1 billion in federal funding. He said, “Her work made it possible to expedite the science behind the testing. Without a doubt in my mind, her funding made the research toward the vaccine go 10 times faster than it would be without it.”
Dolly posted to Twitter, “When I donated the money to the Covid fund I just wanted it to do good and evidently, it is! Let’s just hope we can find a cure real soon.”
When I donated the money to the Covid fund I just wanted it to do good and evidently, it is! Let’s just hope we can find a cure real soon. pic.twitter.com/dQgDWexO0C— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) November 17, 2020