Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen makes donation to local nonprofit group

Collen donates $20K to Gerson Institute

SAN DIEGO - Def Leppard lead guitarist Phil Collen made a sizeable donation Thursday to a local nonprofit that supports holistic cancer therapy.

Collen presented a $20,000 check to the founders of the Gerson Institute, a Normal Heights-based center whose goal is to provide "alternative, non-toxic treatment of cancer and other chronic degenerative diseases."

In addition to the check presentation, Collen performed several Def Leppard and Manraze songs using his acoustic guitar, but all summer long, he used an electric one -- which he sold for $20,000.

"Actually, they've repaired and fixed so many people; terminally ill, cancer patients, heart diseases, you name it," Collen said of the Gerson Institute.

Charlotte Gerson, daughter of Dr. Max Gerson and founder of the institute, said, "I'm happy when people get well."

She is also a new fan of Collen's music.

"You know, I'm pretty old. I'm 90 years old. I'm more into classical music," she said.

Collen said he can't take credit for the idea to donate to the institute. While he lost his father to pancreatic cancer a few years ago, it was an idea from guitar maker Jake Willoughby.

"He said, 'I want to do something. I want to do something for the fight against this; I'm not cool with it,'" said Collen.

"It just made it nice to be able to have him dive in and help with all the hard work he's done over the years. He might not know this, but he was there for me, music-wise, when I needed him the most," said Willoughby.

 

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