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When Taylor Swift Gave My Son With Autism a Life-Changing Gift

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Our family is completely astonished that Taylor Swift would do something like this for a complete stranger.

My son Jacob was diagnosed with autism at a young age. He often tries to wander from safety. He may dart into the street or try to run straight to water — and it would be a challenge to ask for help or know how to get to safety.

boy in mickey t shirt wearing red headphones
Allison’s son, Jacob.

We have done everything we can to keep Jacob safe. Our doors are dead-bolted from the inside, and we have alarms on all our doors and windows. When we go out into the community, either my husband or I have a hold of Jacob. Now that he is older, we started looking for tools to give him more independence. He wants to walk without being held onto, but that is unsafe in most situations.

I decided to apply for a service dog program for Jacob through Autism Service Dogs of America. These dogs serve as companions for the children, but also as physical anchors to keep them safe. They can also provide deep pressure upon command for anxiety and sensory needs. I was thrilled to find out he was accepted into the program.

For years, my daughter Jordan and her cousin Makaylee have come up with cool ways to raise money for autism organizations, either through lemonade stands or snow cone stands. But this past year, they covered a Taylor Swift song and posted it to YouTube and raised over $1,000 for charity. So when they heard we needed to raise $13,500 for the service dog, they went into action writing their own version of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.”

two teenage girls smiling
Jordan and Makaylee.

We posted the video to our GoFundMe account, and Taylor saw it and donated $10,000 to help us get Jacob’s service dog. Taylor and her mom Andrea left a note saying, “Jacob, we hope you love your new dog! Please tell your cousins that they did a great job on the song! Love, Taylor and Andrea Swift.”

We will never be able to express our gratitude to the Swifts for this donation. My daughter and her cousin are thrilled Taylor saw their video and liked it, and even more thankful that the service dog is now fully funded. I am so happy their efforts to help Jacob paid off in such an unbelievable way, and even more stunned that Taylor Swift did this for our family.

We are forever grateful to Taylor and Andrea Swift. Thank you so much. Jacob’s life will truly be changed forever.

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Originally published: February 9, 2016
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