Carol Cesario, a lifelong Bon Jovi fan battling stage-four lung cancer, was probably thrilled just to visit the singer’s New Jersey restaurant. But then Jon Bon Jovi himself showed up to wish her well, and everything changed.
Cesario was sitting with her back to the door when Bon Jovi walked in. “Oh my God,” she yelled out, when she finally noticed him. The meeting came after Cesario’s daughter, Rosie Skripkunis, set up a social-media campaign to connect her mother with Bon Jovi. Skripkunis said that she was contacted by Bon Jovi’s management team within an hour of posting a makeshift sign pleading for a visit. “One of her biggest dreams was to meet him, ever since I was little,” Skripkunis told NBC Philadelphia.
When Skripkunis brought her mother to JBJ Soul Kitchen in Toms River, N.J., she never told Cesario that her favorite rocker would be there. “I lied to her,” Skripkunis said. “I told her I wrote to his restaurant, that they said they couldn’t pass fan mail on, but that they had invited us for a free meal. It was a free meal, but it was a free meal with Bon Jovi there.”
Jon gave Cesario a preview of Bon Jovi’s upcoming album "This House Is Not For Sale", a signed book and guitar, and a kiss.
“She slept with the book he gave her,” Skripkunis added. Cesario’s cancer has more recently spread to her spleen and adrenal glands, according to family members. That’s led to a merry-go-round of doctor visits over the past five months. Skripkunis said Bon Jovi’s visit brought a much-needed ray of sunshine. “Hanging out with freaking Jon Bon Jovi was absolutely freaking insane,” she said. “Me and my sister finally freaking did it! Everyone sharing and some good friends definitely helped make it happen. Bon Jovi has always been mom’s … and my thing since I was, like, 4 years old, and we finally did it for our mom. My heart is so happy today. Unbelievable.”
"Today my mom's dream came true!," Cesario's daughter, Rosie Skripkunis wrote on Facebook. "After loving Jon Bon Jovi for 30 years she finally met him. He invited our family to his restaurant for dinner and surprised her. He spent almost two hours hanging out with her and just chatting with my family."
"What you did for our family is amazing and we are so grateful. This has been one of the best days of our families [sic] life," Sripkunis wrote. "Seeing my mom this happy filled me with so much joy. I still can not believe this happened. Jon is a[n] amazing human. We appreciate everything he did for our mom and for our family today."