Taylor Swift may have gone alone to the Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday night, but she made sure Kevin McGuire was with her on stage anyway when she accepted the trophy for entertainer of the year.
McGuire, for those who don't know, is the 18-year-old, leukemia-fighting, New Jersey high school senior who invited Swift to his prom, only to have her invite him to the ACMs instead. Unfortunately, McGuire, who is undergoing chemotherapy, fell ill with a 103-degree fever in the days before the show and was unable to attend.
“We work hard and we try to give back," Swift said after taking the prize for the second year in a row, according to Pop & Hiss. "Recently, I have been aware of a different struggle that is going on. My date tonight was supposed to be a high school football player named Kevin McGuire, and he is not here. But I promised him I’d give him a shout-out.
"So Kevin and all your family and friends, thank you for wanting to take me to the ACMs."
Kevin and the gang were watching back home at an Applebee's restaurant where he'd once worked. McGuire, who has battled leukemia since he was 13, had spoken with the country singer on the phone over the weekend, both wishing each other good luck.
"I wasn't expecting such great people," he told New Jersey's Courier-Post of Swift and her staff. "It's amazing to see how people who I don't even know could care that much."
His mom, Vicki, shared an anecdote with the Courier-Post about when her son learned his immune system was compromised to the point that he wouldn't be able to attend the red-carpet affair on Sunday.
"He said to me, 'Well, how many people get to say they turned down Taylor Swift?'"
Photo: Taylor Swift accepts the Academy of Country Music Award for entertainer of the year at the ceremony in Las Vegas on Sunday night. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press