Taylor Swift does plenty of things that elicit "awws" (see here), and a Monday night performance in Glendale, Arizona, joins that list. At the show she performed "Ronan," a song that she's only sung publicly once, during the September 2012 Stand Up to Cancer telethon. She explained the reason she was about to dust off the track to the crowd: Ronan's mom was there. People reports that Swift recounted reading Maya Thompson's blog, Rockstar Ronan, "every night. And in it was this account of what it was like to watch cancer take over [your] life." The cancer, in this case, was Stage IV neuroblastoma; Ronan died in May 2011, three days before his fourth birthday. But he's there in the tribute song Swift wrote (which credits Thompson as a co-writer), one Swift issued as a single in order to support the Ronan Thompson Foundation and other cancer charities.
She told the crowd that the song had additional meaning for her following her own mother's cancer diagnosis, and asked them to clap for Thompson, who on Instagram wrote, "This will forever be one of the most special moments of my life." Through the foundation Thompson and her family are fighting to find a cure, and she continues to update the blog. It's an emotional read. In a May 2015 post, she wrote: "So, almost 4 years later and what can I tell you? I can tell you this: Life sometimes feels really hard. As in bring me to my knees, I’m giving up hard. ... I still have days where I am so angry at the stupidest things such as the sunshine, laughter from the Television, or even the new Star Wars movie that is coming out because it kills me that you will not be here to see it. ... I have learned a lot in the 4 years of your death. Mostly that life is f---ing f---ed up and can be totally unfair, but it is up to me to make the most of what I have been handed, even if it is the most horrific thing a mother can endure." (Read about another aww-Taylor moment.)