Music is a dreamlike medium. One native Nevadan resident learned this earlier in August not instinctively, but truly, during a gesture of love and community desired by all, but deserved by one special person in particular. This young woman is Sarah Hodge, whose Make-A-Wish desire was granted this month in a spectacular, unrivaled fashion. The following story is touching and heartbreaking, but most of all inspiring, for what it ultimately means for anybody suffering in America. The possibilities are limitless, for all of us.
In August 2018, The Chainsmokers teamed up with Wynn Nightlife and Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada for a surprise party. Diagnosed with life-threatening cystic fibrosis for her entire life, Sarah Hodge was finally granted her wish of four years. Hosted at the Wynn in Las Vegas, Hodge, a native Nevadan and aspiring musician, was met by the EDM duo and a host from friends and family members at the Intrigue in Las Vegas. Here, she was presented with a MacBook Pro decked out with a host of musical software and production tools; presented with this dream instrument by Alex Pall and Drew Taggart of The Chainsmokers.
“At first I was so surprised,” Hodge says. “I couldn’t put a name with a face.”
Hodge describes this moment, when she first emerges through the doors of the Intrigue, as “surreal.”
“I walk through the doors and there’s a room full of people including my family,” she says. “I looked the other way and there’s these two guys holding a MacBook Pro, which was my wish.”
Upon entering the Intrigue, Hodge was gifted the MacBook, and then swiftly drawn onstage where she performed an improvised set with The Chainsmokers for an audience of friends, family and Make-A-Wish members. Hodge originally attended the event under the assumption that she was acting as a teenage ambassador for Make-A-Wish.
Then, “Closer”, The Chainsmokers’ Billboard-dominating single, kicked in. Lights and performance fog danced around the room. Tossed a microphone, Hodge began to sing along with the crowd.
The Chainsmokers, comprised of Alex Pall and Drew Taggart, currently reside as Wynn’s resident DJs. Pall and Taggart started producing music as The Chainsmokers in 2012 before finding management and releasing their debut EP, Bouquet, in 2014. Singles like “Kanye” rocketed the duo to stardom. Sony Entertainment group signed the group in 2015. A year later they released Collage, their second EP, followed by their debut studio album Memories… Do Not Open the following year. In early 2017, The Chainsmokers released “Something Just Like This”, a collaborative single with the English band Coldplay. As of 2018, The Chainsmokers have announced the upcoming released of their second record, Somebody, and appeared in the Apple Music produced tour documentary The Chainsmokers – Memories.
Sarah Hodge recently graduated from high school at the Word of Life Christian School. An only child, she has lived her last 18 years, her whole life, with cystic fibrosis. With this life-threatening condition, Hodge is often hospitalized and she requires hourly medication. In 2014, she submitted a wish with the Make-A-Wish foundation. Her wish was simple: a computer for her to make music with. Now, nearly four years later, music remains a passion and a respite from her lifelong struggle.
“I’ve always loved music,” Hodge says. “It was amazing how my preferences for music were really similar to what the Chainsmokers like.”
With her new MacBook Pro and the experience of a lifetime performing with the EDM instant-legends The Chainsmokers, Hodge has rediscovered her love of making music. Currently, Hodge plans to pursue a degree as a nurse assistant at the College of Southern Nevada before moving onto full time nursing school.
But Hodge hopes that her new musical gear will lead to success in the music industry, where she wishes to work behind the stars, as an engineer to the hits that we all sing along and dance to.
“I want to be behind the scenes of the [Billboard] Top 40 artists,” she says. “I want to be the person who’s working on their music.”
After her lifetime set with The Chainsmokers, Hodge and her family were brought via a private limo to a hosted dinner at Lakeside at Wynn Las Vegas. Hodge finished her dream night with her closest loved ones. Wherever her life takes her, the Wynn will always be hers, that one night in August, 2018.
Throughout their career, The Chainsmokers have been involved with charity events. They have always involved themselves in society at large. In 2016 Pall and Taggart published a short video to their YouTube channel wherein the duo encouraged fans to register to vote. To illustrate the ease of registering, Pall and Taggart made tacos, an activity that takes even less time than registering to vote.
During their Las Vegas residency, The Chainsmokers have not only taken part in Make-A-Wish but also appeared at a meet and greet for Keep Memory Alive. Keep Hope Alive is a fundraiser for Alzheimer’s disease research. In September 2017, The Chainsmokers took part in the 13th annual Songs of Hope for the City of Hope charity, which raised $3.3 million last year. There they praised musicians like Hans Zimmer, and Max Martin, whom they referred to as “two of [their] biggest inspirations”, as well as congratulating their contemporary, songwriter and producer Jack Antonoff.
Make-A-Wish, founded in 1980, is a non-profit foundation focused on children and minors afflicted with life-threatening conditions receiving extraordinary wishes. The organization is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada has granted nearly 1,900 wishes since their establishment in 1996.