Remember the #HangWithTheWho Sweepstakes with Teen Cancer Amerca and IfOnly? Well, here’s the inside scoop on the lucky lady who got to rock out with The Who and Eddie Vedder at Wembley Stadium! IfOnly reached out to Sarah C. to learn a little more about her experience on this once-in-a-lifetime trip and the excitement that consumed her when she learned she had won!
1. How did you hear about the sweepstakes?
I had actually seen The Who in Philadelphia this past May and I saw their video on the charity website. I had heard of TCA before, but after watching the video I saw first-hand the wonderful work the charity was doing. Once I got home, I decided to do a little research on the charity, and I wanted to make a donation. I then saw the sweepstakes opportunity and thought, “Perfect! A great way to support the charity and maybe even win the prize!” Either way, I was happy to help out!
2. You had an incredible reaction when you won. What were your thoughts when you got the news? When did it really sink in that you were going to London to hang with The Who and Eddie Vedder?
It was funny actually. I was at the beach visiting my extended family when I got the big news! I remember actually listening to ‘Tommy’ while reading a book on the shores when I got the call from IfOnly. At first, I missed the call but luckily got the message. I was ecstatic! I shouted and jumped up and just about lost it! Everyone thought something bad might have happened at first by the way I was shouting, but once I had explained everything even they couldn’t believe it!
After I had received the news, I was actually so afraid of something silly happening that would cause the meet and greet to not happen; like having an accident and then needing to cancel the trip! I remember being so cautious the few weeks before my trip, haha! But it really sank in when I was out shopping one day; I thought to myself that maybe bringing Roger, Pete, and Eddie a small gift would be a kind gesture. I ended up getting them something handcrafted from my home state, and that’s when I really thought to myself “Oh my goodness I just bought gifts for these rock stars as if they were any of my old friends!”
3. What was your favorite story from the experience?
Looking back, it all happened so fast, and there were so many great parts to the evening that it’s hard to pick out just one. I think I can manage to narrow it down to one moment though. When Eddie Vedder was up on stage concluding his act, he spoke about how much The Who influenced him as a musician and even his personal life. When I met him, I stated: “Sir, what The Who is to you is what you are to me.” While I can certainly say The Who is without a doubt my favorite band, Pearl Jam was the first classic rock band I ever listen to; my mom introduced me to them when she gifted me a CD of there’s (back when they were still pretty mainstream) when I was in fourth grade. (Imagining me as a small child headbanging to there hits makes me laugh to this day). Once I listened to that album, I was hooked: I explored many different artists from there on out to eventually be lead to The Who. Eddie was so taken by my comment; when we said our goodbyes he said to me “Keep on what your doing; keep going and best of luck to you.” This truly was such an honorable thing to hear.
4. What was it like meeting The Who?
As for meeting The Who; it was truly like living in a dream: both Roger and Pete were such gentlemen. Mr. Daltrey was very warm and friendly and he cracked jokes with me as if I was his closet friend. He drew the whole crowd in with his kind demeanor. As for Mr. Townshend, he was a bit more quiet, but incredibly interested in getting to know you and hearing what you had to say. I’m sure if there was more time he would have listened to my whole life story!
5. What is it about The Who that made you a “super fan”?
That certainly is a hard one to answer…yet thinking about it I suppose it boils down to one simple thing. The Who’s music, out of all the music I listen to or have heard, is the music I can most relate to myself and my life. The stories their albums share I feel are, in part, a summary of mine: Tommy explores the meaning of finding one’s own strength and identity despite dealing with upsetting family relations. Quadrophenia then illustrates the struggles of fitting in, to eventually discover the fact that your own self worth is determined by yourself and not the group you associate yourself with. Meanwhile, Who’s Next I feel partly depicts the wonders of a rural lifestyle (the lifestyle I certainly live in) with songs such as Baba O’Riley and Love Ain’t For Keeping, while also embodying a pure sense of adventure with Bargain, Getting In Tune, and Won’t Get Fooled Again. In short, no matter my mood or the situation I find myself in, there is always a Who song to accompany me like a close companion.
6. How do you feel about celebrities using their influence to develop charities the way The Who did for Teen Cancer America?
I fully admire Roger and Pete for the work they do; I certainly understand the power philanthropy has. I’ve seen first-hand what one person can do to change the position of others for the better. Thus, whatever opportunity you have to carry your neighbor through their struggle, do it. That truly is your legacy on this earth.
7. Thank you for entering, sharing your story and most of all supporting Teen Cancer America! Any final comments?
I just want to thank TCA and IfOnly once more for this amazing opportunity. Being able to meet three of the most influential musicians ever known was such a joy and honor. May times people say ‘never meet your heroes’ but I would certainly argue against that saying in this case. These three gentlemen greeted me and conversed with me as if I were an old friend. I’ll always be able to look back on that day with a smile and to remind myself to ‘keep on going’.
Thanks to the folks at IfOnly for putting this all together. The official story is here. Also a special thank you to The Who for allowing us to arrange this amazing sweepstakes.