Richie Sambora, Grammy award winning lead guitarist for Bon Jovi, today announced the launch of “You Can Go Home,” his latest philanthropic effort to raise funds and give back to the community through a series of promotions and community service projects. The beneficiary of the program will be Kelly Mahon, a Woodbridge, New Jersey teenager whose life was altered by complications from a brain tumor and whose family is working with Sambora to raise funds to bring Kelly home for the Thanksgiving holidays. Students at Richie’s alma matter, Woodbridge Township High School, will be eligible to win a $5,000 college scholarship through their fundraising efforts during a grassroots campaign to sell limited-edition, specially designed keychains.
“I am excited to launch this program, which will assist Kelly come home, help her family and involve the young people in Woodbridge Township and other communities by rewarding their community service,” Sambora said. “Bon Jovi fans have always supported our efforts, and it is my hope that people who contribute will learn and be inspired by Kelly’s amazing courage and her very special story. Before she became ill her life was all about helping others, and this program will hopefully lead others to ‘Go Home’ to help in their own communities around the world.”
Kelly Mahon was on track to attend Rutgers University on an academic scholarship when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor in November, 2007, during her senior year at Woodbridge High School. A leader in the community, Kelly was known for constantly assisting others and finding ways to raise funds for needy causes. During her treatment, a series of setbacks have delayed her progress and taken a great financial and emotional toll on her family.
Sambora learned of the Mahon’s plight through friends in the community and was inspired to assist the family (already personally raising over $75,000), while also working with the students at the three Township High Schools and others in the area to come together in community service.
The launch of “You Can Go Home,” (inspired by Bon Jovi’s mega-hit song, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” which Sambora co-authored) is the latest phase of the fundraising. The goal is to have Kelly home for Thanksgiving, nearly two years to the day since she was first admitted to the hospital. The funds will make sure that the family can adequately care for Kelly, while also serving as a call to action for community service for young people.
Over 5,200 Woodbridge Township High School students will sell specially designed “Keychains For Kelly” as a fundraiser through November at a special price of $20.00, with 100% of the proceeds going toward the efforts of “You Can Go Home.” The student who sells the most keychains will take part in a special meet and greet with Sambora at Woodbridge High School on November 24th.
Additionally, anyone purchasing a keychain or any other merchandise online at You Can Go Home.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 their “Circle” world tour in Seattle, Washington on February 19, 2010 and go backstage with Sambora. All the details are available on the website.
“You Can Go Home” is the latest in a series of philanthropic efforts by Sambora. He recently donated funds to rebuild the athletic weight room in memory of his father Adam at Woodbridge High School (where he played basketball) and has been active in other charities ranging from Stand Up For a Cure for cancer research to the Midnight Mission in Los Angeles. The New Jersey native currently resides in Los Angeles and is travelling 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 November 10 and their book “When We Were Beautiful" is being released on November 3.