In early September, Phil Collen, lead guitarist for the iconic rock band DEF LEPPARD, announced plans for the charitable auction of "Wings", a custom Jackson PC1 guitar that he had played throughout this summer's Rock Of Ages tour with POISON and LITA FORD. The auction began exclusively through eBay's "Giving Works" on September 5 and ended on the morning of September 15. Reaching beyond all expectations, the highest bidder paid an amazing $15,000 for the one-of-a-kind guitar. The lucky winner is New Zealand businessman Murray Bolton. Collen personally handed "Wings" over to Bolton a few weeks ago when Murray visited Collen's home.
In an extraordinary act of charity, Phil included $5000 of his own to the auction's total in order to deliver a $20,000 check last Thursday, November 15 when he performed live at the San Diego-based Gerson Institute.
"I am very excited to present this check to the people at the Gerson Institute," said Collen.
"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."
A three-minute CBS 8 video report on Collen's visit to the Gerson Institute can be seen below.
November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, a more than appropriate time for Collen himself to introduce the auction's winner and present the check to the Gerson Institute, a San Diego based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the Gerson Therapy, an alternative treatment for cancer and other degenerative diseases.
In early 2012, Jake Willoughby, a guitar and music store owner, asked Collen if he would assist in helping to raise money towards the fight against cancer with Jake's mother, Connie, having just passed away from pancreatic cancer after a courageous 13-month fight. By tragic coincidence, Phil's own father, Kenneth, succumbed to the same disease in 2004. Jake donated a Phil Collen signature guitar, the Jackson PC1 from his music store. In the spirit of hope, it was named "Wings". Mike Learn, a noted artist whose graphics are well known in the guitar world, donated the graphic custom paint job on the guitar. Ironically, Mike also lost two family members to the same disease.