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16-year-old Swiftie receives '22' hat from Taylor Swift months before dying of cancer

By JUSTINE PUNZALAN Published Nov 17, 2023 3:35 pm Updated Nov 17, 2023 4:05 pm

Being a fan can change your life, they say. Taylor Swift fan Ally Anderson experienced one of the most pivotal changes in her life when the pop icon gave her a 22 hat months before dying of cancer.

Ally was only 11 years old when she was diagnosed with a rare soft tissue cancer called alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma. Her mother, Patty, told PEOPLE that it was already in stage 4.

And throughout her battle with the disease, Swift's music "brought light to Ally's life."

Patty said she and Ally are "original Swift fans," with her 16-year-old daughter attending her first Taylor Swift concert—the "1989" world tour—in 2015 when she was 8 years old.

She said that just like any Swiftie, Ally "knew every single word to every single song." She even recalls her daughter playing the music icon's tracks "when she was still able to shower, when she was organizing her room, when she drove everywhere." 

The loyal Swiftie also had a tattoo on her left forearm of the lyrics, "And if you never bleed, you're never gonna grow," from Taylor's 2020 song The 1.

After years of being Swift's fan, Ally had her full circle moment when she was chosen to be the recipient of the singer's 22 hat during one of her Eras Tour concerts.

Patty told PEOPLE that Ally was selected among the audience of Swift's show in Cincinnati, Ohio last July 1. Ally shared a video of the surreal moment on her TikTok account on July 3.

Here, Swift is seen dancing to her hit song 22 then kneeling in front of Ally, who was at the edge of the stage, to put the cap on her head.

"No words to describe what it felt like to be pulled from the seats to the floor. I knew immediately" Ally captioned her post. "Taylor was my first concert so many years ago. Honestly such a full circle moment."

@allysonnanderson no words to describe what it felt like to be pulled from my seats to the floor. i knew immediately. taylor was my first concert so many years ago. honestly such a full circle moment. #22hat #tserastour ♬ original sound - ally

Patty told the outlet that it changed her daughter's life "immensely," noting that she never saw Ally "smile and laugh like that in a very long time."

Apart from receiving the hat directly from Swift, Ally and Patty also had the opportunity to meet Swift's mom Andrea that night.

"We couldn't thank her enough for choosing Ally for the hat," Patty recalled to People. "But I hope one day I can meet Taylor and Andrea to express how much that night meant to Ally."

 Ally passed away four months later, on Nov. 13, after battling with cancer for five years. Even on her last breath, the Swiftie has shown her love for her idol.

"As you know, Taylor Swift's favorite number is 13," Patty said, "Ally passed away on 11/13/23 at 13:40. The 13th day during the 13th hour."