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Mom, dad, son fighting cancer while struggling to run family cafe in Florida

Florida community working to help family battling cancer keep restaurant open
WATCH: Florida community working to help family battling cancer keep restaurant open

A Florida family of three is fighting to keep their restaurant open — while each of them fights a different type of cancer.

The Desclefs family own a French-American restaurant in Jacksonville called The Magnificat Cafe. Dad Benoit Desclefs moved from France decades ago in search of a better life.

Now, Benoit, wife Kathy Desclefs and their 17-year-old son, Luke, are all fighting for their lives.

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Five years ago, Kathy was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In August, doctors found a tumour was in Benoit’s brain and deemed it inoperable.

Two months later, Luke noticed a lump on his neck and was later diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

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“It’s a hard process,” Kathy said. “With Benoit, they’ve said [he has] roughly 12 years [to live]. With Luke, he has a very good prognosis if he responds to treatment … For me, it’s hard to say because the variant I have is so rare they don’t have a lot of data on that.”
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“It’s too much,” she told a local broadcast station. “Especially when it came back down to Luke. It was just too much.”

A fundraiser has been set up on the Supportful platform and it’s since raised more than US$24,000 of their $157,269 goal. A separate GoFundMe page has raised more than $8,700.

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The family is struggling to keep their business afloat, with Benoit unable to work and Kathy trying to make ends meet to while paying for their separate treatments, the Supportful page reads.

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Many have reached out to offer their support, with one donor in the comments volunteering her serving experience. A chef and donor offered his skills for free as well, writing: “I’m a chef that is local and would love to come and help cook or [prepare] or any thing that will be benefits to the family and business.”

The family has been forced to put the business up for sale and hire extra help.

Luke is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments, and Benoit will join him this month.

“It’s hard — physically, emotionally — but the prayers help us continue on,” Benoit said.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

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