UPDATE: Our partners at B98.5 saw our story and have offered the family four suite tickets to see Taylor Swift in Atlanta on October 24. They’re still talking with her management. Fingers crossed they can do more!

ATLANTA – A mysterious illness claimed the life of Atlanta mother Stefanie Ballard. Now her community is asking for help from star Taylor Swift.

Stefanie Ballard died August 2nd after developing a strange infection three weeks ago. She became ill after a day of swimming with her daughters Riley, 6, and Reese, 4.

Riley turns 7 next month, and her mother had hoped to take her to Swift’s concert in Atlanta on October 24th. Now Stefanie’s community is trying to make sure the girls have something to look forward to during this devastating time.

Friends, family and even strangers are now pleading to Swift on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtags #bigdreamslittlegirl, #balladsforballards and #wishes4riley.

Along with trying to get the girls tickets and hopefully a chance to meet their favorite singer, Stefanie’s family and friends are asking people to help Stefanie’s Husband, Pete Ballard, and the girls financially through a GoFundMe page.

Her husband, who owns a small video production service, faces mounting medical bills and living expenses.

“We’re just brainstorming a lot of ideas, on how to help them and the two girls’ transition into their new life,” friend Angie Chesin told Channel 2 Action News, Atlanta.

Friends are also planning yards sales to help out.

“It’s very sad, and it’s very tragic,” Chesin said. “It’s just a mystery how someone could be perfectly healthy and just two weeks later, be not with us anymore.”

Pete Ballard said his wife developed summer flu-like symptoms after a day at the pool.

The symptoms quickly progressed into aches, dizziness, loss of balance and brain swelling, he said.

“The swelling caused her to be paralyzed on her right side when she went to the hospital,” friend Karen Morianos said.

Morianos said doctors’ tests ruled out that the illness was triggered by a waterborne pathogen.

“They ruled out a lot of things, but could never come up with the cause of what happened,” Morianos said.

Despite the best efforts of doctors, the brain swelling continued, and according to a post online by her husband, Stefanie Ballard suffered a heart attack Sunday night and died.

“It’s just some sort of mysterious illness her body wasn’t able to fight,” Morianos said.


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