JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville family of three fighting three different kinds of cancer got a big boost for their downtown business.
After receiving more than $70,000 in donations, including $10,000 from a pair of attorneys, the Desclefs family will be able to keep its restaurant open in the new year.
Local attorneys Eddie and Chuck Farah wanted to do something good after finding out Kathy, Benoit and 17-year-old Luke Desclefs were each diagnosed with a different kind of cancer. So the attorneys decided to match up to $10,000 in sales at the Magnificat Cafe. They presented the family with the money Monday.
Kathy Desclefs got very emotional after they handed her the check.
“It has just been really moving," she said.
The three members of the Desclefs family have all been going through cancer treatment. Recovery from the treatment has been very difficult and they haven’t had the energy to come work in the kitchen. They had to hire extra staff and just couldn’t keep up with bills. The family planned to close its French restaurant, which has been a downtown staple for 16 years, in January, but the Farahs said they just weren’t going to let that happen to their neighbors in need.
“We’ve known each other for a long time, probably 15 to 16 years, and it’s a good feeling to help a neighbor," Eddie Farah said.
Chuck Farah said it wasn’t just about them presenting a check.
“It’s about everybody else coming together and really making it happen," he said.
In just a few weeks’ time, the Desclefs family’s story has made headlines all over the world. Prayers and donations have come pouring in, and locally, the support system has been life-changing.
“It’s allowed us to keep our business," Kathy Desclefs said.
Luke Desclefs recently found out he is responding really well to treatment and might not have to go through radiation.
“Words cannot express our gratitude," he said.
Benoit Desclefs is a French chef and the restaurant is his American dream. He said he is so grateful for the chance to keep his dream alive.
“In two weeks’ time, my life turned around completely," he said.
The Desclefs family members said they’ve been so blessed. This is the first time they’ve ever been able to take the entire week of Christmas off and give their employees a paid holiday, too.
Besides getting healthy, Benoit Desclefs said, he, his wife and his son have just one wish for the new year:
“Hopefully, they keep coming and we stay here for another 16 years."
If you would like to donate to the Desclefs Family Cancer Fund, click here.