Mika Baugher’s Front Row Experience: Def Leppard and Journey Concert
Illness: Cystic fibrosis
Have you ever known someone who is a true GIVER? Someone who always puts others first—and not out of obligation but simply because that’s their nature?
This is Mika Baugher.
Wife to Chris, mother to 12-year-old twin boys, and her family and friends’ biggest supporter—all while working full time for the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
And all while living with Cystic Fibrosis.
For those unfamiliar with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), it’s a genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time. Imagine breathing through a straw all day long—this is the daily battle for those living with CF. Additionally, Mika has experienced other complications as a result of her CF, including arthritis, blood clots, diabetes, and even surgeries.
But nevertheless, despite all of her health challenges, Chris tells us she works tirelessly, serves selflessly, and remains active and remarkably positive.
Mika has always loved music, especially 80s bands and the musical Rock of Ages. Karaoke is a big passion of hers. Music has been a soothing comfort during various treatments, as well as an escape during the toughest times.
When we heard Mika’s story and that Def Leppard and Journey were touring together, we knew we had to make a special night happen for Mika!
The big weekend was here! Event Director Helen Smith and Michelle (our local volunteer assistant) arrived to the hotel early to make sure everything was ready for Mika and Chris. A big thank you to the Westin Nashville staff who greeted our guests of honor and upgraded their room to a beautiful suite.
The Front Row staff and the Baughers met at the Decker and Dyer restaurant at the Westin for brunch. Later that evening, Helen took Mika and Chris to the L-27 Lounge, that boasts a beautiful view of the city. During the interview, Mika shared heart wrenching stories about living with her illness and friends she’s made and lost because of it.
Mika also happened to mention that she likes surprises. Which was perfect, because we definitely had a few for her!
Gibson graciously donated a guitar to Mika—one that Vivian Campbell from Def Leppard designed himself and wanted her to have! Did we mention the one and only Vivian Campbell also wanted to meet Mika before the show?! Mika was ecstatic! (Chris said she had never seen him so excited. Seriously.) #frontrowmoment all the way!
During the interview, Chris also shared what an incredibly hard worker Mika is and “fantastic mother and wonderful wife.” He expressed his awe of her and how she doesn’t let her illness get her down.
Afterwards, we headed to the hopping Broadway Ave! There was music playing in every venue all the way up and down the strip, with different bands everywhere.
Our first stop: Tootsies Lilac Bar.
We went up to the rooftop and had fun playing “bachelorette bingo,” counting how many veils and matching shirts of the many brides-to-be who were out on the town.
Next we headed to Whisky Row where the band Dozzi was playing and we had a private table up front thanks to friend of the band, Michelle Fletcher. Andrew Smallwood, Front Row’s Director of Communication and Development, joined the group, along with his parents and Front Row supporters, Geoff and Sally Smallwood.
Dozzi sang a Journey song to Mika and even pulled her up in front of the band. The lead singer extended the mic to Mika and she sang part of the song! It was epic!
With a full and fun evening under our belts, it was back to the hotel to get ready for the main event!
After arriving at Bridgestone Arena—where lines were already wrapped around the building and you could feel the pure energy—Mika was waived into a special VIP entrance where she got to meet Vivian Campbell … AND THE ENTIRE DEF LEPPARD BAND!
Next, our crew made our way to our AMAZING seats (section 3, row 3)—just feet from the stage! Limited edition custom tour posters were gifted to Mika from the Nashville Bridgestone Arena crew.
Journey came on first and put on an incredible performance! We held Mika’s Front Row sign high, and they threw many guitar picks our way and continued to waive, smile, and engage with her the whole time. The lead singer even pointed at Mika and blew her a kiss!
Def Leppard rocked it next with mindblowing energy and Vivian Campbell threw his guitar pick to Mika.
Two UNREAL back-to-back shows, plus an encore—it was a dream concert for this 80s music fanatic!
We headed back to the hotel for a final interview. This sweet couple shared how they’ve been married 15 years but this is the first time they’ve had such a special time away together. Chris’s highlight was getting to watch Mika experience this well-deserved night, designed just for her. It meant the world to him to see his most-deserving wife be showered with attention, love, and support. This was an eye-opening moment for Mika, to see herself through Chris’s eyes and gain the self-realization of how truly special she is. It was a beautiful moment.
Thank you to everyone who made this event possible. Mika and Chris, you are an inspiration! What an unforgettable experience—we’re grateful to have shared it with you!