RICHIE SAMBORA HELPS TEEN DIAGNOSED WITH BRAIN TUMOR
November 5, 2009
Kathy Dzielak of MyCentralJersey.com reports that home is where the heart is, according to Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora.
Sambora grew up on a dead-end street in Woodbridge, but his success as lead guitarist for Bon Jovi has led him to exotic locations around the world.
Born in Perth Amboy, Sambora, now 50, cut his musical teeth as a teenager, playing Central Jersey clubs such as the now-defunct Charley’s Uncle in East Brunswick.
Sambora’s travels with Bon Jovi have taken him far from his original home throughout the years, but he’s kept in touch with friends, fans and community members from New Jersey. On Thursday, Nov. 5, he announced a new charitable campaign to raise money to help Kelly Mahon, a Woodbridge teenager who was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
The campaign is titled “You Can Go Home” in reference to the Bon Jovi hit, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” which Sambora co-wrote.
“I am excited to launch this program, which will assist Kelly (in coming) home, help her family and involve the young people in Woodbridge Township and other communities by rewarding their community service,” Sambora said in a prepared statement issued Thursday by his publicist.
Sambora cited Kelly’s “amazing courage” and noted that before she became ill, “her life was all about helping others.”
Kelly had planned to attend Rutgers University on an academic scholarship. She was diagnosed with the tumor two years ago while a senior at Woodbridge High School.
Last year, Kelly marked the one-year anniversary of her brain surgery by joining friends at a local ShopRite to buy Thanksgiving fixings for needy families just before the holiday.
Since that time, she has suffered a series of setbacks, and her illness has required her being away in special treatment facilities, including the Hartwick Rehabilitation Center in Edison. This has resulted in a large financial and emotional toll, according to Sambora, who is working with the teen’s family to bring her home for this year’s Thanksgiving holiday.
“This program hopefully will lead others to ‘Go Home’ to help in their own communities around the world,” he said.
As part of Sambora’s fundraising campaign, more than 5,200 Woodbridge Township High School students will be selling specially designed “Keychains For Kelly” throughout the month of November. One hundred percent of the $20 cost will go toward “You Can Go Home” efforts.
The student who sells the most keychains will receive a $5,000 college scholarship and will take part in a special meet-and-greet with Sambora at Woodbridge High School on Nov. 24. Additionally, anyone purchasing a keychain or any other merchandise online at YouCanGoHome.com will be eligible for a drawing to attend the meet and greet, win signed memorabilia from Sambora and Bon Jovi and be entered for the grand prize, an all-expenses-paid, all-access trip to see Bon Jovi open its “Circle” world tour in Seattle on Feb. 19, and go backstage with Sambora. Details are available on the Web site.
Sambora also recently donated funds to rebuild the high school’s athletics weight room in memory of his father, Adam, who died of cancer.
Sambora has homes in Los Angeles and Philadelphia and is traveling once again with Bon Jovi on a global promotional tour before returning to the United States next week.
Bon Jovi’s latest album, “The Circle,” is being released on Tuesday, Nov. 10. A book about the band’s early days, “When We Were Beautiful,” was released earlier this week.
For more information about Kelly’s history and progress, visit www.careforkelly.com.