But then he thought of “Hope.”
While reporting a story on child abuse and neglect, Parker had grown close to a 13-year-old girl she called, “Hope.” The special, Childhood Lost, aired a week before Parker died. Parker planned to stay in Hope’s life and mentor her through school.
Hurst gave Hope and her adoptive mom, Teresa Lavon, of Roanoke, (she requested we use her middle name to protect her daughter’s identity) the Swift tickets to the Greensboro, N.C. show. He then solicited local radio station K92 to pull some strings and get the two back stage to meet Swift.
Lavon, who relived the meeting in an interview with The Washington Post Friday, didn’t tell Hope she’d be meeting Swift until they got there.
“Oh my god, you’re kidding,” Hope said.
“Yes, baby you’re going to actually meet her.”
“I’m about to meet Taylor Swift. To really meet Taylor Swift.”
Through tears, Lavon described how Swift hugged her daughter. The singer told Hope that she wasn’t “just beautiful, you’re exquisite.” Lavon told Swift they were there because they were dear friends with the Virginia reporter who had been killed in August. Swift hugged her daughter again and said she was so sorry for their loss.
Hope was severely neglected by her parents as a young girl. Lavon began fostering her when she was nine years old and decided to adopt her. Here’s a segment from Parker’s special:
The day Parker was killed, Lavon took Hope out of school to tell her so she wouldn’t hear it from anyone else. Later that night, Hope was sitting in the kitchen, and began singing a song she’d made up about her friendship with Alison. The next Sunday she sang it at church:
“Just the other day I saw you. We were laughing, you were smiling and now I’ll never see your face cause you’re gone now and I’m sad now. So I’ll shed a tear for you, yes, I’ll shed a tear for you…”
Hurst has stayed in close contact with Hope and her mom. He gave Hope a necklace, bracelet and earrings of Parker’s to have. They’re all working together on another TV special on child abuse because it was an issue Parker cared about deeply and wanted to keep reporting.
“All I have done is simply vow to honor Alison with trying to create as much joy as I can through the trauma and chaos,” Hurst wrote for WDBJ7 this week.
“Chris and I were talking about how (Parker) was smiling all night Wednesday night just watching (Hope at the concert),” Lavon said, her voice breaking.