Gavin Lanes poses for a photo with Natasha Lepine at her anniversary party in 2017. Natasha Lepine photo

Friends appeal to Taylor Swift via Twitter after death of B.C. fan

Gavin Lanes, 20, died before he was able to attend Swift’s May 22 concert in Seattle

Friends of Gavin Lanes, a 20-year-old man from Quesnel who died on May 14, have started a Twitter campaign to tell Taylor Swift about the death of one of her biggest fans.

Sam Vandeyck, Lanes’ boyfriend, and Natasha Lepine, a close friend of Lanes, started the campaign.

“Anyone who knew Gavin knew how much he loved Taylor Swift,” Lepine says.

Lanes was living and working in Prince George when he died earlier this month. He was supposed to attend Swift’s concert in Seattle on May 22. Lepine says: “I wanted to do something. I wanted him to be part of that concert – or part of a concert of Taylor Swift’s, you know, in some shape or form.”

Some of the tweets requested that Swift dedicate the song “Red” to Lanes at her Seattle concert. Since that concert has passed, the friends have said they’d just like Swift to acknowledge Lanes’ life in one way or another.

“He was very into music,” says Vandeyck. Vandeyck and Lanes had made plans to get VIP tickets to every concert they went to together, so they could bring a vinyl record to get signed by the artist and start a collection.

“We had plans to be together for a very long time.”

Other friends have rallied around the Twitter campaign.

“We’ve kind of banded together, just trying to blow this thing up. We want to make it super popular, and then maybe it’ll catch her attention,” says Vandeyck.

Swift frequently makes the news for going out of her way to surprise her fans. Just this month, the pop star made headlines when she surprised a young fan, who had been unable to make it to her concert, at a hospital in Arizona.

Vandeyck believes that if Swift sees the message, she’ll respond to it in some way.

Lepine says people are still interacting with the original tweet. “It’s still growing everyday. There’s still people retweeting and liking and sharing.”

Vandeyck says that Lanes had always admired Swift. He thinks that an acknowledgment from Swift will help to keep Lanes’ memory alive.

“I want to have him remembered. I don’t want him to be a statistic, because he was a lot more than that… He touched a lot of peoples lives and I just want to honour that for him.”

Vandeyck and Lepine both described Lanes as a warm, lighthearted person who lit up the room whenever he entered one.

“He was just so comfortable with where he was at. And you would feel that comfort when you were around him. You would open up so easily to him. I don’t remember when we became friends, I just remember that suddenly we were friends and he was around all the time,” says Lepine.

She adds that anyone who would like to can make a donation to the Remembering Gavin Lanes fund at any Integris Credit Union. All the proceeds go to at-risk youth in Quesnel.

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