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The Mom Of The Boy Who Inspired Taylor Swift's 'Ronan' Shares A Message To The Singer Ahead Of What Would Have Been His 16th Birthday

Photo: Twitter & Instagram
Maya Thompson, Taylor Swift, Ronan Thompson

The true story behind Taylor Swift's song "Ronan" remains one of the most heartbreaking sources of inspiration in Swift's music.

Fans were reminded of the story of Ronan Thompson when Swift released "Red (Taylor's Version)" in 2021, which featured "Ronan" for the first time, repurposing a track initially used as a once-off charity single. But, for those who need a refresher, here is the meaning of Swift's "Ronan" and the story of the boy who inspired the track. 

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Who is Taylor Swift's 'Ronan' about?

Swift wrote 'Ronan' about Ronan Thompson, a young boy who died from cancer in 2011. Ronan was born on May 12, 2007, and in August 2010 he was diagnosed with a type of childhood cancer called Neuroblastoma.

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Ronan Thompson's 2011 death inspired Taylor Swift's 'Ronan' and his mother is credited as a writer on the song.

Maya Thompson, Ronan's loving mother, lost her angel after an 8-month battle with cancer on May 9th, 2011, just days before his fourth birthday.

After Thompson lost her son, she started a blog called "Rockstar Ronan" and started writing about the death of her 4-year-old son.

Swift wrote 'Ronan' as a charity single to raise money for cancer research.

Swift got word of the blog posts and with Thompson's permission, wrote the 2012 charity single called "Ronan" in collaboration with Stand Up To Cancer. The proceeds from the song went to The Ronan Thompson Foundation.

The lyrics are inspired by Maya's blog posts, hence her writing credit. The song's memorable lyrics include: "I remember the drive home / When the blind hope turned to crying and screaming 'Why?' / Flowers pile up in the worst way, no one knows what to say / About a beautiful boy who died."

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Swift reached out to Maya Thompson to ask to include 'Ronan' on 'Red (Taylor's Version).'

In a blog post, Maya shared the email sent to her by the award-winning singer ahead of 'Red' being re-released.

"I've recently completed the re-recording of my 4th album, Red. It's really exceeded my expectations in so many ways, and one of those ways is that I thought it would be appropriate to add 'Ronan' to this album. Red was an album of heartbreak and healing, of rage and rawness, of tragedy and trauma, and of the loss of an imagined future alongside someone. I wrote 'Ronan' while I was making Red and discovered your story as you so honestly and devastatingly told it. My genuine hope is that you'll agree with me that this song should be included on this album. As my co-writer and the rightful owner of this story in its entirety, your opinion and approval of this idea really matters to me, and I'll honor your wishes here."

In the same blog post, Maya gave her thanks to Swift, writing "My words of thank you will never be enough."

Upon releasing the track once again, Swift also released a lyric video for the song. 

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Photo: Mama Maya (@rockstarronan) / Twitter

Now, years on, Maya has shared another post about her son ahead of what should have been his 16th birthday on May 12. On Twitter, Maya let her followers know that she would be celebrating Ronan's Day Of Love by attending Swift's Philadelphia concert where she will be continuing her Eras Tour. 

Photo: Mama Maya (@rockstarronan) / Twitter

Hopefully, Maya will be surrounded by love and support from Swift and her legions of fans on what is no doubt an incredibly bittersweet day. 

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Megan Hatch is a writer at YourTango who covers news & entertainment, love & relationships, and internet culture.