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Bon Jovi’s gift lives on

Posted April 1st, 2014

Marlene Clay reaches out to hand Bon Jovi a special gift

When Jon Bon Jovi came to Calgary during his world tour, it was the first time his longtime lead guitarist, Richie Sambora, would not perform with him. To make up for the unexpected absence of Sambora, Bon Jovi donated $100,000 to the Calgary Homeless Foundation.

In January of this year, Marlene Clay, an avid Bon Jovi fan, and a social worker who dedicates her time to working with seniors, contacted CHF to ask if we would write a note in the front of a book she wanted to give Mr. Bon Jovi at an upcoming concert in Las Vegas. “I want to do something special for him that recognizes the impact of his donation, particularly as it was just before the floods,” she said.

The following is her account of what happened when she presented Bon Jovi with a copy of the Calgary Herald’s  book, The Flood of 2013.

Thank you Marlene Clay for going the extra mile to thank a man who gave so generously to help end homelessness in Calgary.


It’s February 25, 2014 and he looks relaxed in his orange t-shirt and faded blue jeans…maybe because 2 months ago he just finished a 10 month tour that took him to 25 countries and 93 cities.

He says his wife wanted him out of the house so he came to Las Vegas to play a private, acoustic Storyteller show for 300 of his biggest fans, the Runaways.

This is my fourth Runaways trip.

He starts the show with the song Every Word Was A Piece Of My Heart from his 1997 solo album Destination Anywhere, a rarely played song live.

His name is Jon Bon Jovi and he’s been my idol for 22 years.

This time there is an opportunity to interact and ask questions of the man behind the music.

This is a special night for me as I have been planning my moment with him for weeks; the book and what I will say.  Now I eagerly anticipate my turn to speak.  I wait with angst as the Runaways crew member who has the microphone is ignoring my request to give him the book.  My friend confronts the crew member about his harsh behaviour and he finally relents and gives me the microphone.  I introduce myself and thank him on behalf of all Calgarians for his generous donation to the Calgary Homeless Foundation.  I walk up to the stage and give him the Flood of 2013 book with a hand-written message of appreciation from the CHF.

He takes the time to glance at the book while I stand in front of the stage..he says he will read it and reaches out his hand for mine.

As he gives me the killer smile that melts many women’s hearts, I clasp his hand firmly in mine.

Magical…


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