While 2016 has not been the kindest to Taylor Swift, that hasn’t stopped her from continuing her reign as the most charitable celebrity in Hollywood. However, this time her generosity has hit very close to home.
That’s because Swift is godmother to 1-year-old Leo Thames, son of actress Jaime King. And what you probably didn’t know — what no one knew until yesterday — is that Leo was born with a Congenital Heart Defect called Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA).
Babies who are born with TGA have the two main blood vessels of their heart switched, resulting in very little oxygen to the body. The condition usually requires surgery within the first week after birth. Little Leo was diagnosed with TGA when King was 20 weeks along.
Shortly after his birth in July 2015, Thames had surgery to correct his condition at Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Hospital. He is doing well now, but to thank the staff — and help all the other children with TGA — Taylor Swift made a sizable donation to the hospital’s congenital heart program in Leo’s honor. King received a letter that informed her of Swift’s donation that was made in tribute of her son, which she shared on Instagram with a special message.
In her post, King explained that she went through a very dark time dealing with the fear and isolation that comes with a major medical condition and why she now thinks that it’s important for parents going through similar situations to share their experiences in support of one another.
As King points out, when something in life goes wrong, many of us retreat into our little bubble of close family and friends. When her child was sick, she says she was “isolated and confused.” While many parts of King’s life are incredibly public, when it came to the most important part of her life, King felt the need to protect her son from the world knowing the truth. In her words, “I felt that I had to protect him in fear of the unknown, fear he would not make it.”
In this age of social media, it can be difficult to share the hard parts, the less-than-pretty-even-with-a-filter aspects of life. We may have no problem sharing a picture of our beautiful ice cream cone, but our kid’s open heart surgery? Well, that’s a different story.
Of course, everyone will react differently to life’s difficulties and it’s not always the best course of action to speak out. But in King’s case, now that Leo is healthy and thriving, and especially given her celebrity status, it was important to her to share her story and spread awareness for this condition.
“It made us realize that silence cannot connect other parents & people going through these issues,” King wrote. “[Taylor Swift] knew that by giving back in this way would be the greatest gift one could give to us, to Leo Thames and to all of those with congenital heart issues. She came to the ICU to comfort us, to hold and bond with him with such grace & strength. Our gift back is to share our story that anyone that is going through this is not alone, we understand & want to stand up to bring awareness in the greatest way possible. Leo Thames is the strongest, healthiest boy because of this team. He will live a full and whole life & never have to look back. Thank you Taylor & to EVERYONE listed on this letter we love you. With gratitude and humbleness.”
King’s message is an important one because it highlights the importance of speaking out about the hardships we go through as parents and realizing that no matter how hopeless the situation feels, we are truly never alone. There is always, always someone who has gone through the same experience and there is always someone willing to lend a helping hand.
Now, where can we sign up to get Taylor Swift to be godmother to our kids? Because if there was ever a real-life fairy godmother, it’s her.