Dolly Parton and ‘Below Deck Med’s Captain Sandy Are Teaming up for a Very Personal and Important Reason

Captain Sandy Yawn from Below Deck Mediterranean will join Dolly Parton when she appears at Nashville’s Kiss Breast Cancer Goodbye benefit concert in Oct. Breast cancer hits home for both Parton and Yawn. In 2020, Parton released a special single, “Pink,” which she refers to as a song of hope. And Yawn’s girlfriend Leah Shafer recently faced a health scare.

What does Dolly Parton’s breast cancer song symbolize to her?

Parton said the song “Pink” symbolizes hope. “This is such a beautiful song of hope. I’m honored to join with these powerful women to help support Susan G. Komen’s life-saving work,” she shared. Other artists on the song include Sara Evans, Monica, Jordin Sparks, and Rita Wilson. The song was written and performed to help aid breast cancer research.

Dolly Parton and Captain Sandy from Below Deck Mediterranean will appear at a breast cancer fundraiser
Dolly Parton and Captain Sandy from Below Deck Mediterranean will appear at a breast cancer fundraiser | 2020 Billboard Women In Music/Getty Images for Billboard

Being a champion for the breast cancer cause isn’t new for Parton. She’s become a healthcare hero, donating $1 million to coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine research. “I just felt so proud to have been part of that little seed money that will hopefully grow into something great and help to heal this world,” she told BBC. “I’m a very proud girl today to know I had anything at all to do with something that’s going to help us through this crazy pandemic.”

Why is Captain Sandy joining the breast cancer benefit?

Like Parton, Yawn is also a healthcare advocate. After facing a heart attack and kidney cancer in the past, Yawn’s girlfriend Leah Shafer dealt with her own breast cancer scare. Doctors diagnosed Shafer with pre-cancerous cysts (lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) after she had an MRI.  “Not full-blown cancer,” she told Showbiz Cheat Sheet in 2019. “Nothing has spread. [But] if I don’t remove it could end up being aggressive. No chemo for me!” 

Shafer was proactive and had a lumpectomy. But Shafer admitted she was extremely worried. “When I heard that this could become aggressive later in life, that’s when I freaked and wanted a double mastectomy. But insurance wouldn’t cover,” she shared on Instagram.

“I chose to have a lumpectomy this past Friday because LCIS requires surgical removal only so it doesn’t become aggressive,” she added. Shafer is in the clear. She and Yawn are both advocates for early detection.

How did Captain Sandy and Leah Shafer face her breast cancer scare?

Shafer enduring another scare and biopsy in 2020. But it was not cancer. At the time, Yawn was filming Below Deck Mediterranean, which made the diagnosis even scarier for the couple. “FaceTime really helped,” Yawn told Bravo’s The Daily Dish at the time. “I stay focused on my job. I try to keep my emotions in check. Leah’s family was around her, but we talked every day on FaceTime.” She added, “I was there every moment. When she went in for the surgery, I was on the phone with her the minute she came out.”

Shafer shared her biopsy results on Instagram. “No treatments like chemo or radiation were needed so please get checked! It’s worth it!!” she wrote. “Praying for good results!! Love you all!!”

Yawn recently re-tweeted about the upcoming event with Parton. “Tickets going fast! @DollyParton will be performing! Meet and Greet with @CaptSandyYawn! Benefiting @SusanGKomen.”

RELATED: Leah Shafer Receives Scary Health News Before Girlfriend Captain Sandy Leaves to Film ‘Below Deck Med'(Exclusive)