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Megadeth flies born-deaf woman to Vegas for her first rock concert


Do you remember the incredibly emotional YouTube video of born-deaf Sarah Churman getting an ear implant so she could hear for the first time? Well, she is coming to Vegas to experience her first rock concert.

Megadeth is flying Churman and her husband Sloan here to see Megadeth and Motorhead Thursday at the Palms, and Megadeth asked her to interview singer Dave Mustaine for a band project.

I called her Friday in Fort Worth, Texas. She was kind, smart and easygoing. I asked her if my facts were right.

“Yes sir. First trip to Vegas. First rock concert. There’s a lot of firsts happening,” Churman said in a polite Texas drawl.

“We pinch pennies and live on a shoestring, pretty much. So concerts are something we don’t get to go to very often. I’m excited.”

Churman grew up around music because her dad was a songwriter and played in a band.

“Even though I couldn’t understand lyrics or different instruments, there was always a way to enjoy it,” she said. “In my world, that was turning it up as loud as possible and feeling the vibrations.”

She and her husband listen to most genres of music. They do rock out to Megadeth. So when the band offered to fly her here, she was thrilled and appreciative.

“I was like, ‘Heck yeah, nobody’s gonna turn that down. That’s awesome,’ ” she said.

I have seen Megadeth and Motorhead before. They’re great and loud. I told Churman she might want to bring earplugs.

“Oddly enough, my cyborg parts — they have a governor on it. They shut down at a certain decibel, so you can’t damage anything,” she said.

Her husband was the one who shot the 2011 viral video (attached to the bottom of my column online) of Churman getting a hearing implant. Then they went on Ellen DeGeneres’ show. Ellen got the implant company to reimburse Churman’s mother-in-law $30,000 for the implant and to cover the cost of Churman’s other ear.

I told Churman she comes across in the media as super nice and authentic.

“Thank you,” she said. “I appreciate that. I get that a lot and it means a lot to me. I try hard. We all fail, but I try hard to be transparent and kind.”

I asked Churman why she hasn’t tried to make a fortune off of the viral video. She said she didn’t want to sell out. She wrote a book, “Powered On,” which Amazon.com readers have given a cumulative five out of five stars. She does some speaking engagements and has a public Facebook page.

But other than that, she and Sloan live a family life with two kids in their native Fort Worth area. For fun, she likes to go shopping at thrift stores.

They are an adventurous couple. Some years back, while Sloan was teaching English, they lived in a Chinese village with no running water or heat.

They’re looking forward to the romanticism of Vegas nightlife, lights, people and music, she said.

After our phone talk, I texted her not to lose all her money gambling.

“Phhttt! I’ve titled this trip, ‘Elly May goes to Vegas,’ ” she wrote back, comparing herself to the character from “The Beverly Hillbillies.” “I’m more of a ‘get some good grub, strong drink, and sit back and watch the world go by’ kind of gal.”

Doug Elfman’s column appears on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Email him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/entertainment/reel.