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Restauranteurs raising money for chef after wife's shocking cancer diagnosis

Rob Clement owns popular pop-up Jewish deli Meshugganah. After his wife was diagnosed with cancer, other local chefs stepped in to help.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte culinary community is rallying around one of their own after a family was hit with a surprising cancer diagnosis. 

Rob Clement's pop-up Jewish deli Meshugganah has been a huge hit. So much so that he had plans for a brick-and-mortar location. But those plans are now on hold after his wife, Franki, was diagnosed with breast cancer at just 32 years old. 

“It’s scary and it can change your whole life in a matter of days,” Clement told WCNC Charlotte.

Now several restaurant owners and chefs from around Charlotte, as well as the Piedmont Culinary Guild, are stepping in to help. They've already raised over $25,000 for the Clement family. They're raffling off some unique experiences, like a seven-course tasting at The Stanley and a backyard barbecue at The Goodyear House. 

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The fundraiser was started by Doug Rose, the owner of Team Rose Bread

“I too am a young dad and husband. I have four kids and I’m also in the food business which just requires a ton of time and energy," Rose said. "You're often divided between what you could give your time to, so I just wanted to do whatever I could to free Rob up to be as present with his family as possible."

The Clement family says the support has meant the world to them. Rob is now getting ready to bring Meshugganah pop-ups back to the Queen City. 

“There are people who have donated prizes who I’ve never even met in person. There are people who Franki's never met, or Franki's met once," Clement said. "There are former employers of mine, places that I've quit my job working for them who have stepped up to donate experiences for people."

He hopes sharing his family's story will encourage more people to get necessary health checks. 

Credit: Clement family photo
Franki Clement (back) was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 32. Her husband, Rob, hopes sharing their story will encourage others to get checked.

“Go do what you need to do to make sure you’re there for your families and you’re going to be around as long as you can be because cancer's no joke,” Clement said.

The fundraiser closes at midnight on Thursday and winners will be drawn on Friday.

Contact Chloe Leshner at cleshner@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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