Mother of Boy Who Inspired Taylor Swift's 'Ronan' to Attend Concert on His 16th Birthday

Taylor Swift
Broadimage/Shutterstock

Swifties may need to prepare to shed a few tears during the Friday, May 12, stop on The Eras Tour.

Maya Thompson, the mother of the late little boy who inspired Taylor Swift’s song “Ronan,” accepted an invitation to spend what would’ve been his 16th birthday at the Philadelphia concert, leading some fans to believe the 33-year-old Grammy will perform the track as a surprise song at Friday’s show.

“Happy 16th Birthday to my beautiful boy. I can’t wait to celebrate you through my tears tonight,” Thompson tweeted alongside a link to the song and a pic of her son. “I love you to the moon and back, forever and always.💜💜💜 #ronansdayoflove @taylorswift13.” (One week earlier, Thompson revealed Swift had extended the invite.)

Swift released “Ronan” in 2012 after the 3-year-old died from neuroblastoma in May 2011, days before his 4th birthday. She learned about the little boy’s battle with cancer through his mom’s blog, Rockstar Ronan. At the time, Thompson recalled getting a call from Swift after the “Lavender Haze” songstress wanted to release the track in collaboration with Stand Up To Cancer, donating the funds to The Ronan Thompson Foundation.

Mother of Boy Who Inspired Taylor Swift's 'Ronan' to Attend Concert on His 16th Birthday

Ronan Thompson
Courtesy of Maya Thompson/Twitter

“The tears started pouring down my cheeks as soon as I heard her say those words,” Thompson recalled. “But her words didn’t stop there. Not only did she write a song for you, but she wanted to know if it would be alright to perform it on the nationally televised Stand Up 2 Cancer show which is on every major network and is seen in over 100 countries. She wanted to know if she could use a picture of you in the background while she sang the song. She wanted to make me co author of the song with her. She talked about how from reading this blog and following our story, has inspired her and how amazing she thinks I am and all I am doing, to bring awareness to childhood cancer.”

When Swift dropped Red (Taylor’s Version) in 2021, she rerecorded the track alongside a lyric video and made it clear she wanted to raise more money in Ronan’s honor. “For more information on pediatric cancer, please visit the Ronan Thompson Foundation,” a message at the end of the video read.

Thompson called the new version “so painstakingly perfect” and said she was “sobbing” as she watched the clips of her son set to the song.

“I still can’t believe this is real and that ‘Ronan’ has a permanent home. I love you, @taylorswift13,” she tweeted at the time. “I will never be able to thank you enough for keeping Ronan safe with you.”

Mother of Boy Who Inspired Taylor Swift's 'Ronan' to Attend Concert on His 16th Birthday

Maya Thompson and Taylor Swift.
Courtesy of Maya Thompson/Instagram

Since writing about Ronan, Swift’s own family has faced cancer. She revealed in 2019 that her mother Andrea Swift’s cancer had “returned” and she penned the track “Soon You’ll Get Better” with The Chicks about the health scare. In 2020, she told Variety that Andrea had a brain tumor.

“Everyone loves their mom; everyone’s got an important mom,” Taylor told the outlet at the time. “But for me, she’s really the guiding force. Almost every decision I make, I talk to her about it first. So obviously it was a really big deal to ever speak about her illness.”

Ahead of Friday’s concert, Thompson wrote a new blog post about Ronan’s sister making friendship bracelets to give to Taylor ahead of the show.

“Tonight I will celebrate you at the Era’s tour. You loved music, so spending the evening at Taylor’s concert is the most beautiful way to wrap myself in your love,” she wrote. “My heart will be filled with a bittersweet blend of sadness and love. I imagine there will be a lot of dancing and singing through my tears, and I am honored to be in attendance on such a difficult day. Poppy will be with me, and holding her tiny little hand in mine is never lost on me. Witnessing her boundless love for Taylor and experiencing the event through her innocent eyes always brings me a profound sense of comfort. It’s truly remarkable how her enthusiasm and free-spirited nature have the power to uplift and heal me in ways that words cannot fully convey.”

Thompson concluded: “Happy sixteenth Birthday, little man. I love you and miss you with everything that I am. I hope you are safe. xoxo.”