When his wife, Michelle Blakely, was diagnosed with lung cancer in August, Chuck Pembroke knew he had to do something to make her feel better.
Since Blakely, 46, began chemotherapy on Aug. 28, Pembroke said that he has been “devastated.”
“I grew up with her brother,” said Pembroke, who lives with Blakely in the Far Northeast, near Academy and Comly roads. “If anything happened to her, I’d pretty much be crippled. It would bring me to my knees.”
Pembroke, 49, is one of the chefs at Sweeney’s Saloon on Philmont Avenue in Somerton, and he hatched a plan to ask his bosses at the family-owned bar to host a fundraiser for his wife.
The Sweeney family accepted his proposition.
Pembroke describes it as “an upscale beef and beer,” with free food (paid for by Pembroke himself) and a cash bar. Donations are accepted at the door (but not mandatory) and will go toward Blakely’s cancer treatment.
“It’s out of my pocket,” Pembroke said. “But this is what I want to give my wife.”
Blakely said that she is looking forward to the event and appreciated her husband’s efforts.
“The support of seeing all my friends and family there is going to mean a lot to me,” Blakely said.
She said that when she was first diagnosed, she thought she had been given a death sentence.
“I had my foot in the grave,” Blakely said. “It was awful. I called Chuck, and he was there in 10 minutes.”
Blakely receives weekly chemotherapy treatments at Aria Hospital, and she said that her diagnosis has given her a new outlook on life.
“It’s made me so much more grateful for everything,” she said. “Things just don’t bother me anymore.” ••
The fundraiser will take place on Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. at Sweeney’s Saloon, 13639 Philmont Ave.