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Def Leppard’s Phil Collen Raises $20K for Gerson Cancer Institute

Def Leppard
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Def Leppard‘s Phil Collen has no doubt raised the spirits of those being treated at the Gerson Institute in San Diego, as his ‘Wings’ guitar just netted $15,000 in an auction with the proceeds going to the organization’s holistic cancer therapy efforts.

Collen didn’t just donate the instrument. He saw the whole thing through, agreeing to invite New Zealand businessman and winning bidder Murray Bolton to his home a few weeks back. It was there that he turned over the prized custom Jackson PC1 guitarist that he played throughout the band’s ‘Rock of Ages’ tour this past summer. After receiving the money from Bolton, he then handed over the $15,000 check to the Gerson Institute and added in $5,000 of his own money, bringing the grand total to $20,000.

Collen stated, “I am very excited to present this check to the people at the Gerson Institute. Meeting Murray and handing over ‘Wings’ was bittersweet. I really grew to love that guitar, but am so happy that it’s going to a great home and the money will help so many more people.”

The timing of the auction and Collen’s overall donation couldn’t have been better, as November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. Earlier this year, guitar and music store owner Jake Willoughby asked Collen if he would assist in raising funds in the fight for cancer in honor of his mother, who had just passed away from pancreatic cancer. Collen, whose father Kenneth also passed in 2004 from pancreatic cancer, agreed to help out.

Willoughby provided the guitarist with the instrument and named it “Wings,” and Mike Learn, a noted graphic artist in the guitar world who also lost two relatives to pancreatic cancer, provided the custom paint job. After the guitar was ready, Collen took the instrument on the road with him this summer with the sole idea that it would raise funds for cancer research after the trek was complete.

Next: Phil Collen Discusses 'Rock of Ages' + Summer Tour

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