It all started back in early 2012 when Jake Willoughby, a Kansas-based guitar maker and music store owner, approached Def Leppard lead guitarist Phil Collen with a question: would he help him raise money towards the fight against cancer?

Willoughby's mother had recently succumbed after a courageous 13-month fight against pancreatic cancer, the same disease that had claimed Collen's father back in 2004. Willoughby gave the axeman a one of his own signature guitars, the Jackson PC1. The instrument was then painted by Mike Learn, a noted artist whose graphics are well-known in the guitar world.

In early September, Collen announced plans for the charitable auction of the guitar, which he had gone on to play during this past summer's this Rock of Ages tour. Several weeks later, the highly coveted instrument was won at auction by New Zealand businessman Murray Bolton.

Last week, Collen and his wife Helen included $5000 of their own to the auction's total and then delivered a $20,000 check to the San Diego based Gerson Institute, a San Diego-based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the Gerson Therapy, an alternative treatment for cancer and other degenerative diseases. November also happens to be Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

Noisecreep was on hand at the vaunted center as Collen presented the check, along with his wife Helen, and Willoughby and his wife who had flown in from Kansas. Then, Collen treated the Gerson employers to a an incredibly set of acoustic music that also featured songstress Debbi Blackwell-Cook.

We've included part of Phil's solo version of the Def Leppard classics "Hysteria" and "Pour Some Sugar on Me" (the latter of which features a duet with Blackwell-Cook), some truly magical musical moments from a particularly unforgettable day in San Diego.

Watch Phil Collen Perform Def Leppard Classics

Watch Noisecreep's Chat with Phil Collen


Head to Gerson Institute's website for more information on their work and pancreatic cancer.

VIVA HYSTERIA! at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas:
Friday, March 22
Saturday, March 23
Wednesday, March 27
Friday, March 29
Saturday, March 30
Wednesday, April 3
Friday, April 5
Saturday, April 6
Wednesday, April 10