What started out as kind gesture became an even kinder one, and an error buying Taylor Swift tickets had a happy ending.
Fifteen-year-old Brittany Grentz of St. Louis had been having a pretty awful year. After a long bout of stomach pain, she was diagnosed with having a cyst on her spleen. As she headed into surgery to have her spleen removed, her mother, Laura Grentz-Dolan, wanted to do something nice for her, give her something to look forward to.
“She absolutely loves Taylor Swift,” Grentz-Dolan said, so the mom decided to surprise her daughter with tickets to the St. Louis stop of Swift's “Red” tour.
Perhaps it was the complexity of online ticket sites, or the stress and heartache that comes with taking care of a sick child. But for whatever reason, Grentz-Dolan accidentally bought four tickets to one of Swift's concerts in Omaha.
After realizing her very expensive “D'oh!,” Grentz-Dolan got creative.
Grateful for the care that a children's hospital in St. Louis had given her daughter, she called Children's Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha.
“We just got a cold call from (Grentz-Dolan) … saying she didn't want these tickets to go to waste,” said Rob Harding, community resource specialist at the Omaha hospital. Grentz-Dolan said she wanted the tickets to go to a family in Omaha going through similar circumstances.
“There are so many patients and families deserving,” Harding said, “but we could only choose one family.”
In the end, they held a raffle of Children's patients and picked 6-year-old Alivia Maeder.
Alivia has a rare form of leukemia and has spent the past 18 months more or less living at Children's Hospital with her mother, Tiffany Maeder. The two have had to make the 90-mile trip from Corning, Iowa, every other week, staying at the Omaha hospital for three to six days at a time for Alivia's treatments.
“Alivia's come through like a trouper,” Maeder said. “And the hospital nurses have become our family.”
Alivia, a very committed little Taylor Swift fan, was thrilled to hear that she won the tickets. “It's a blessing,” Alivia's mother said, “to be able to do something normal for her.”
After countless drives to Omaha, she said, it's nice to have a trip to look forward to.
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