In honor of the occasion, Thompson plans to celebrate “Ronan’s Day of Love” with fellow fans on Night 1 of the Philadelphia shows.
Celebrating Ronan’s Day of Love On Ronan Thompson’s Birthday
“May 12th is Ronan’s Day of Love, a special day I have chosen to celebrate in honor of what would have been Ronan’s sixteenth birthday,” Thompson tweeted. “For the past eleven years, I have been doing random acts of kindness for others to honor his memory and keep his spirit alive.
“It is my way of making a positive impact in the world. I hope you will join me on this day by being extra spicy, sparkly, and selfless.”
On her blog, she asked fans to “perform a random act of kindness to brighten someone’s day. Hug with all your might, kiss your heart, and laugh out loud.”
Taking inspiration from some lyrics from Swift’s latest album, “Midnights,” — “So make the friendship bracelets, take the moment and taste it/ You’ve got no reason to be afraid” some concertgoers have made bracelets with Ronan’s name to wear or share with others. Thompson also shared a video of herself making one.
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Thompson said on her blog in a message to her late son that to do “something extra special” for his sweet 16, her family established the Ronan Thompson Nurse Navigator Fund at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Cαncer Center, where Ronan was previously a patient.
“CHOP provides exceptional patient care, and the Nurse Navigators play a crucial role in supporting patients and their families as they navigate the complexities of cαncer care,” Thompson explained in a second blog post.
The Story Behind Taylor Swift’s ‘Ronan’
Swift and Thompson’s romance began “for the worst possible reason,” Thompson said to The Arizona Republic in March. Swift, who had never known Ronan, “took so much of my pain and turned it into the most beautiful thing,” Thompson wrote in an Instagram post after seeing Swift perform in May 2018.
Unbeknownst to Thompson, Swift was reading Thompson’s Rockstar Ronan blog “every night” over a decade ago, as the singer said during her 1989 Tour stop in Glendale, Arizona, in 2015.
The two met for the first time in October 2011, when Maya, her now ex-husband, and their twin sons, Liam and Quinn, were invited to Swift’s Speak Now Tour.
A year later, Swift called Thompson out of the blue.
“I wrote a song for Ronan,” Swift told Thompson, according to Thompson’s blog post. She asked for permission to perform it on national TV and show a photo of Ronan. Later, she debuted it during a Stand Up to Cαncer program in September 2012 and credited Thompson as a co-writer.
Swift has only played the emotional single live twice — in the televised fundraiser and during her 1989 Tour stop in Arizona, where the Thompson family lives — but gave the song “a permanent home,” as Thompson told The Arizona Republic, when she re-recorded her fourth studio album, “Red,” in 2021 and included “Ronan” as Track 21.
Here’s The Last Time Taylor Swift Performed ‘Ronan’ Live
Maya Thompson told The Republic in March that she still gets goosebumps when she thinks of the first time she heard “Ronan” performed live in August 2015.
Swift introduced the song to the audience while strumming a guitar and stated that she felt a stronger connection to Thompson when her mother was diagnosed with cαncer.
“Going through something unbearable and sharing your experience with the world is one of the bravest things a human can ever do.”
“There’s a woman here tonight named Maya Thompson, and she has lived and raised her children in this area, and I wouldn’t know half as much about childhood cαncer and childhood cαncer research if she hadn’t shared her story about her son, Ronan,” Swift said.
She asked her fans to give Maya a round of applause and said she wanted to “try to play this song. I can’t promise that I will sing it well or not get emotional,” she said.
“But I’m going to try because the only other time I played this was on a show called Stand Up to Cαncer, and I think that because Maya’s here tonight, I think she deserves it because she co-wrote it for me.”
Thompson reflected on the experience in a blog post a few days later.
“I felt like I had the softest, safest blanket wrapped around me which can only be explained as being you. I felt you everywhere. I swear I felt your little hand inside of mine as Taylor’s angelic voice started to sing your song,” she wrote in August 2015.
“I have not felt your presence so close to me since you were here physically. It was absolutely one of the purest, most magical moments.”
Hearing ‘Ronan’ live was ‘a once-in-a-lifetime thing’ for mom Maya
Before The Eras Tour launched in Arizona, Thompson told The Republic that some people hoped Swift would sing “Ronan.” (The 44-song setlist does not include the single, but two surprise acoustic songs are plucked from her 10 albums and two re-records in each show.)
“I feel like that was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. And I’m so OK with that because it completely changed the dynamic and energy of the concert in, like, the most beautiful way,” Thompson said. “But it was also very tough. Of course, if she wants to, I’m open to that. But also if she doesn’t, I’m not taking that personally.”
One fan suggested holding up paper hearts when Swift arrives at the end of the catwalk to play two surprise tracks after performing songs from the “1989” era. Another recommended that the crowd turns on flashlights “to make Maya and her family feel loved and supported” if Swift performs “Ronan.”
Swift isn’t sure if she’ll make this her third live performance of the song, but she knows Thompson will be there; her staff worked with Thompson to get her to the show.
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