SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – The Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System Foundation on Friday announced hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations for its Patient Enhancement Project, an addition to its upcoming Union Medical Center aimed at improving experiences for patients and families.

“A project like this allows us to enhance large capital – like the [Union Medical Center] – and bring spaces of nature, calmness, walking trails,” Foundation President David Church said. “All that together adds a more healthy healing environment.”

The project will introduce a garden, walking path and chapel to the medical center and will improve the ambiance inside the facility’s hallways and rooms.

Donors for the project include local businesswoman Barbara Harter Rippy, Chairman and President of Arthur State Bank J. Carlisle Oxner III and music star Dolly Parton.

Parton’s involvement in the project began with a letter from Dr. Bill James, a local physician. Parton’s mother was born and raised in Union County.

James grew up with Parton’s first cousins and, with their help, sent a letter to the American icon.

“We were told that as soon as she received it, she sat down and read it and made her decision,” James said. “Within 12 days, she had signed a pledge card and sent a check for $100,000.”

Those interested in contributing to the enhancement project can donate here or email Director of Philanthropy Stacey Burton at