The power of hope and music: How Taylor Swift changed a North Carolina girl’s life

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Charli Robertson is like many teenage girls. She loves Taylor Swift and her music.

“I want to write about Taylor Swift,” Robertson said to English teacher Mary Lee. “I want to get Taylor Swift’s attention.”

For more than three years Charli, a senior at North Forsyth High School, has been trying to get the country-pop musician’s attention to personally say thank you. “I wanted to say thank you to her for helping bring my memory back.”

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In the fall of 2012 Charli, who has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair, suffered seizures so severe they erased her memory.

“I didn’t know my own mother,” said Charli. “I didn’t even know who I was.”

“It got to a point I was wondering, was she ever going to come back?” said Sheri Robertson, Charli’s mom. “[Doctors] had kind of given up because they had done everything.”

Sheri says nothing worked to break Charli’s amnesia except the day she played the music of Taylor Swift. “There was an immediate reaction … she was singing the words,” said Sheri. “She would get all of her memory back by April [2013].”

The song “Mean,” stirred Charli’s memory and her spirit.

“I think it was the part, “You can’t take me down,” that brought me back,” said Charli. “I want to say thank you to her.”

“Taylor Swift’s music was the connection to the past and present,” said Lee, who isn’t Charli’s teacher. Lee, an English teacher at North Forsyth, befriended Charli in the library one afternoon and ever since has been working to help her reach out to Swift, doing everything from writing to tweeting.

“Charli is joy in life,” Lee says.

Lee worked to help Charli get tickets to see Swift in concert when she comes to Greensboro in October. But Charli want’s to personally thank the singer.

Lee contacted FOX8 and we contacted our friends, radio personalities Clay J.D. Walker and Leanne Petty with 93.1 The Wolf. When the morning announcers heard about Charli’s wish, they made some phone calls, getting her backstage passes to meet Swift during her scheduled October performance in Greensboro.

“You made my dream come true,” said Charli.

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