Far NE man hosts cancer benefit for wife

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 from 7 to 11 p.m. at Sweeney’s Sa­loon, 13639 Philmont Ave.

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