This tear-jerking song was inspired by a little boy, Ronan, who died in 2011 of neuroblastoma, which is the most common form of cancer in infancy. Taylor wrote the song after reading the blog of Ronan's mother, Maya Thompson, who is credited as a co-writer. Maya began writing in August 2010 when little Ronan was diagnosed and she continued penning her heartrending entries during the nine months that Ronan fought the illness before passing away in May 2011, just three days before he would have turned four. Maya worked through her grief by continuing the blog, writing heartbreaking letters to her late son, whilst also raising money and awareness for childhood cancer causes.Swift debuted the tune on September 7, 2012 during the Stand Up to Cancer telethon. It was made available on iTunes immediately afterwards, with all proceeds going to cancer-related charities.
Taylor's lyrics are taken completely from Maya's blog entries. The pair met in October 2011, when the singing star invited Maya to her concert at Jobing.com Arena. The grieving mother wrote about her reaction when Taylor told her that she'd penned the song. "My calmness soon turned to complete and utter frozen shock when these words came out of her mouth. 'I wrote a song for Ronan,'" she said "'The tears started pouring down my cheeks as soon as I heard her say those words. But her words didn't stop there. Not only did she write a song for you, but she wanted to know if it would be alright to perform it on the nationally televised show."
Maya didn't get to hear Taylor's song until she performed it on the telethon. In her blog, she wrote, "It was pretty emotional," adding that hearing her own words set to music was "kind of like reliving it again, but it's something I'll probably always relive."