Australian Taylor Swift fan Jorja Hope received some devastating news when she was just 12 years old. She had a medical condition that would cause her to slowly lose her hearing.
One of the first things she said on receiving the diagnosis of bilateral inner-ear loss was, “I won’t be able to hear Taylor Swift sing.” For the youngster, it was yet another heartbreaking setback – she had been dealing with other medical problems all her life.
There is currently no cure for the type of ear condition Jorja has. While her mother Mel reeled from the news, the amazing 12-year-old took her prognosis in stride. “Life goes on,” she told her family.
But Jorja’s twin sister Chloe wasn’t about to let this all happen without trying her very, very best to do something special for her sister. Jorja’s family had got her a ticket to Taylor Swift’s Sydney concert, but Chloe wanted to go one better.
She wanted to get Taylor Swift to meet her sister. Mel warned her not to get her hopes up – Taylor Swift is an international megastar after all – but Chloe was determined to try. She started a Facebook group called “Help Jorja Meet Taylor Swift in Sydney.”
Image: via Twitter/Maitland Mercury
Before long, the page started gaining attention and support. When it reached 1,000 likes, Jorja cried – but more likes were to come. Other hearing-loss sufferers also started getting in touch with the young girl to offer support.
Image: via Swifternet
“I’d be meeting [Swift] for everybody that’s supporting me,” Jorja told her mother as the campaign started to go viral all over the planet. The hashtag #helpjorjameettaylorswiftsydney started appearing on Twitter, and BuzzFeed picked up the story.
Friends of the Hope family were shocked and delighted when they started to see Chloe’s campaign on the news. But the concert was on November 28 and time was ticking: would Taylor Swift even respond?
Well, in the end, perhaps it didn’t actually matter if she didn’t. “Regardless of whether Jorja meets Taylor or not,” Mel said, “the support that has been shown, firstly from our local community is incredible, the school, our local butcher, friends, family and strangers has been incredible.”
“I am overwhelmed by the support,” she said. “No words could ever thank each and every person that has shared, liked, tweeted or sent messages enough. You are all showing Jorja how much love and support she has around her.”
Image: Jason Merritt/Getty Images
But this is Taylor Swift we’re talking about, and she’s one of the kindest pop stars in the business. In 2014, DoSomething.org named her the most charitable celebrity in the world, and she’s donated no less than $50,000 to New York City’s public schools.
Image: Sandra Mu/Getty Images
That’s not all. Taylor Swift is legendary for engaging with her fans. She’s shown up at a fan’s bridal shower, she’s sent flowers to a dead fan’s funeral, and she’s donated huge sums of money to complete strangers who are in desperate need.
Image: via Mashable
So perhaps it’s not surprising that Chloe’s plan worked out. Before the concert, Sydney radio station Nova 96.9 brought Jorja into the studio and surprised her with the news that she would shortly be meeting her hero.
Jorja and Chloe took to social media to thank all the people who had gotten them so far. “I can’t believe the time is here and we will all be driving down to Sydney with friends ready for the most amazing night of our lives. Big thank you to everyone here that has liked the page and big thank you to Nova FM for the amazing opportunity to meet Taylor Swift,” they wrote.
Before the concert started, Jorja finally got to meet Taylor. “She was very, very amazing and very pretty,” the 12-year-old said. “I didn’t expect her to be as tall as she was.” Taylor Swift’s height is 5ft 9.5in, fact fans!
The girls had even brought a present for Taylor – Ugg boots! That’s a very sweet act, and the perfect present for a pop star at Christmas. On Nov 30, Taylor was spotted wearing Ugg boots – perhaps they were the same ones?
And then the sisters went to the concert and had an amazing time. “It was very, very fun. We danced all night,” Jorja said of the show. (Well, hopefully not all night. She is only 12.)
“Things like this happen to other people, not to people like us,” Mel told Australia’s Today show the day after the concert at the ANZ Stadium, Sydney. “It’s been a fairy tale.”
And though Taylor Swift is a role model to Jorja, the 12-year-old herself has become an inspiration to many now. “Jorja has battled her whole life from being born preemie with growth problems, to surgeries on her ears already and five surgeries for broken bones,” her mother said. “She is a fighter, no matter what happens, she smiles and keeps going.”
But it’s thanks to her devoted sister that Jorja got to meet Taylor. “Chloe you did it!!! You gave your sister the ultimate gift!” reads a post on the family’s Facebook page. Now that’s a “Love Story.”