Taylor Swift donates $68,000 to 11-year-old fan with leukaemia

Taylor Swift donates $68,000 to 11-year-old fan with leukaemia
PHOTO: Naomi Oakes gofundme page, AFP

A young cancer-stricken girl has received a huge morale boost thanks to a US$50,000 (S$67,546) donation and kind words from her favourite pop star Taylor Swift.

11-year-old Naomi Oakes from Arizona, USA, was recently diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukaemia, which is a cancer where the bone marrow produces too many abnormal blood cells.

As AML is an aggressive form of cancer, Naomi was told that she would have to undergo up to nine months of intense therapy without leaving the hospital.

Naomi's family said in a YouTube video that the little girl was devastated by the news, especially because the intensive treatment meant she would not be able to attend a Taylor Swift concert in August.

The long-term medical treatment needed has also caused some financial burden for the family, who has started a crowdfunding effort on gofundme to raise money for her treatment.

"We are obviously scared and concerned for our girl, but she has been a trooper and is positive about getting better," a relative said on the page.

The family decided to garner support for young Naomi by uploading a video with the hashtag #TeamNaomi.

In the video, it is revealed that Naomi is a big fan of Taylor Swift, and that she had chosen Swift's song 'Bad Blood' as the song to motivate her in her fight against cancer.

It was not long before the pop star noticed the video and made donations amounting to US$50,000.

Swift, 25, also left an encouraging message on the girl's crowdfund page.

She said: "To the beautiful and brave Naomi, I'm sorry you have to miss it, but there will always be more concerts. Let's focus on getting you feeling better. I'm sending the biggest hugs to you and your family."

When Naomi saw the message from Swift, a big smile appeared on her face. Her family recorded the girl's reaction and uploaded the video online.

As she reads the message, Naomi lets out a huge gasp followed by the words: "Oh my God".

With a hand placed on her chest, Naomi says: "I can barely breathe".

"I seriously think I'm going to pass out right now," she adds later.

Swift, whose latest album 1989 has been named the fastest-selling album since 2004, revealed in April that her mother had been diagnosed with cancer.

"She wanted you to know because your parents may be too busy juggling everything they've got going on to go to the doctor, and maybe you reminding them to go get checked for cancer could possibly lead to an early diagnosis and an easier battle," she had said on her Tumblr page.

This is also not the first time the singer has reached out to a fan. In 2014, some of Swift's fans said they had received packages with hand-picked gifts over the Christmas holidays.

In January this year, Swift also sent a US$1,989 cheque to a fan to help pay off her student loans.

"Rebekah, now you're $1989 closer to paying off those student loans," she said in a note that came with the cheque.

ljessica@sph.com.sg

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