Pink’s Beautiful Trauma World Tour of Australia came close to not happening. In August 2018 she was hospitalized with dehydration and a virus and had to postpone some shows. But luckily the concert in Brisbane, scheduled for August 21, went ahead. And while on stage, Pink noticed some people in the audience holding up signs. Among their number was a young girl, and what happened next made headlines.
Pink is one of the most beloved entertainers in pop music. She’s sold millions of records and won multiple awards. Indeed, she has no less than seven MTV Video Music Awards and three Grammys, plus plenty of others. She’s also noted for her emotional honesty, rebelliousness, and of course her spectacular musical talent.
Pink has put plenty of work into charitable endeavors and activism, too. She’s supported LGBTQ rights, wildlife conservation and multiple charities, including Save the Children, World Animal Protection and UNICEF. And in 2009 she donated $250,000 to the Red Cross in order to help victims of a wildfire in Australia.
Of course, Pink isn’t just a successful pop star, she’s also a mother. She has two children with motocross competitor Carey Hart, whom she proposed to in the middle of a race in 2005. Their marriage has had some ups and downs over the years, though, including a separation in 2008. But now they’re the proud parents of two young children: Willow, born in 2011 and Jameson, born in 2016.
What’s more, Pink has always been outspoken about how much it takes to be a mother at the same time as having a music career. And in 2012 she posted a picture to Instagram of her breastfeeding baby Willow, even though some consider the practice controversial. Despite this, though, the star has described Willow as a “very happy and healthy little girl.”
The singer also decided to take her children with her on her Beautiful Trauma World Tour. She explained her choice to Redbook magazine in June 2018. “I’ve never juggled so many damn plates in my life, but it’s because I want to. I enjoy it,” she said. “If I had nannies raising my kids and just wanted to be a rock star and party all the time, I wouldn’t be successful, and I wouldn’t be happy.”
While the successful artist wanted her kids to see her “work really freaking hard to realize a dream,” Pink also wanted to put their needs first. “When touring stops working for the kids, if they decide they just want to be home and have a normal life, whatever that means, I’ll stop, because they are by far the priority,” she said.
However, it wasn’t the star’s children that caused a problem on her tour, or even her illness – it was the paparazzi and internet trolls. When a photo surfaced of her on a beach with her kids after postponing her concerts, Pink wrote an angry response on Instagram to those judging her. “I don’t need to clear this up, but out of respect for my fans I will attempt it,” she wrote.
“What these parasite paparazzi don’t show you is two doctor visits on two consecutive days, antibiotics, steroids, Vicks, nose spray, throat spray, more steroids, NyQuil. [And] a screaming baby in the middle of the night, every night, while mama gives him warm baths and tells her daughter everything is fine,” Pink angrily noted. She finished her post with, “I’m sorry to the real fans who this situation has affected.”
And those real fans seemed to turn up in droves for Pink’s concert in Brisbane on August 21, 2018. But there was one particularly important person among them. This was Leah Murphy, a 14-year-old girl from north Queensland, attending with her aunt. She had a very important message for Pink. And while singing a softer song, Pink noticed the sign she was holding.
The teenager’s sign read, “Hi, my name’s Leah. I’m 14 years old, and I just lost my beautiful mom. I would love a hug.” Leah’s mother, Debbie, had passed away in June. She and Leah had planned to attend Pink’s show in Sydney, but Pink’s hospital stay had thrown a wrench into their plans. Both of them were massive fans of hers.
Leah’s aunt, Katrina Donkin, explained everything that had happened to Australia’s ABC News. “Once Pink got down to the quiet music she was looking out to the crowd, that’s when I started waving the sign,” she said. “I had strangers in the crowd grab them off us as well and start waving them. It was just enough for Pink to say, ‘What is that?’”
“[Pink] couldn’t read [the sign], but someone handed her a little brochure about Leah, and she read it out,” Donkin said. Then the crowds started parting so that Leah and her aunt could move closer to the singer. “I just whispered in her ear, ‘You’re going to get your hug, sweetheart. We’re going to get you the hug,’” Donkin revealed to ABC.
“We ended up at the front row, and Pink just held her for… it felt like 20 seconds,” Donkin said. “And Leah’s only 14, she’s a teeny-tiny little thing, and she just sobbed uncontrollably in her arms. Pink was just so genuine, she said, ‘Hey, don’t cry, everything’s going to be okay.’” Leah then told the star how much her mother had loved her music.
Pink took a selfie with the youngster and even signed her arm with marker pen. Then the star climbed back onto the stage and delivered a poignant message of her own. “Everyone call your mom,” she said to the audience. Perhaps she was thinking of her own children and her journey as a mother in that moment.
There was another thing, not just Pink’s being taken ill, that almost prevented Leah from meeting her idol. Believe it or not, Donkin originally left the concert tickets at home! Once she realized her mistake, she had to arrange for their delivery to her. “I rang my neighbor; my neighbor broke into my house and got them. [They then] handed them to someone I know who works on the check-in desk at Qantas,” she told ABC.
“[My friend] then asked the pilots of a flight [arriving] in Brisbane at lunch time if they could take them down, and they said yes,” she said. “I went back out to the airport, and the captain walked off [the plane] and gave me an envelope.” It was a lot of hard work, but it was probably all worth it in the end. As exciting as the night must have been, more importantly, Leah’s wellbeing has reportedly improved a lot since meeting Pink.
The whole family couldn’t have been happier. “I haven’t seen her smile so much [in a while],” Donkin told ABC. “Her dad said he woke up feeling happy today, happier than he has been in a long time.” In a joint interview with his daughter on August 23, Leah’s dad told Yahoo! 7 News about the effect the meeting had on them. “Pink really lifted the spirits of our family so much,” he said.
“I was crying a lot, and Pink said, ‘Oh, don’t cry, you look so pretty. Everything’s going to be okay,’” Leah told Yahoo! 7 News, recalling the details of the meeting. “She was really nice. She’s really sweet.” Donkin described Leah’s experience as “a hug from heaven,” to ABC news and said “I do feel her mom orchestrated the whole thing.”
Of course, fan reaction to the story was overwhelmingly positive. When Donkin posted a video of the encounter on Facebook, people praised both her for putting it together and Pink for giving the hug. “You are a wonderful, loving aunt!” one person commented. “My love and admiration for Pink has escalated through the roof,” another wrote. “I will love her forever now.”