Fred Levine, a Remarkable Man with a Gift

Fred, who lives in Toronto with his wife and four children, has been determined to fight through his life-changing diagnosis of anaplastic astrocytoma, a rare malignant brain tumor. After completing long weeks of intense treatment, which included brain surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, he decided to focus his energy on writing and illustrating a children’s book. Triple Trouble: One Good Deed Deserves Another was originally intended as a keepsake for his children, Jordyn, Justin, Jesse and Jaimee.   

Fred, 47, chose to receive treatment at The Gerry & Nancy Pencer Brain Tumor Centre because he respected their vision, “making a difference in the quality of life of people living with brain tumors.” He also felt a strong connection to Gerry Pencer, a former Canadian business executive who courageously fought brain cancer from 1997-1998.      

Fred feels he made exactly the right choice. 
“There is always a level of professional care at the Cancer Centre, with the most powerful view of downtown Toronto,” says Fred. “The Princess Margaret truly differentiates itself from the average hospital -- it’s a first-class experience.”
The Gerry & Nancy Pencer Brain Tumor Centre provides world-class multidisciplinary care, treatment, support, and education for patients and their families. The centre also focuses on brain tumor research in the hopes of one day finding a cure. To provide the highest quality care and services to patients and families, the Cancer Centre depends heavily on philanthropic support.
“Despite having to take an incredible amount of medication daily and make monthly visits to the Centre, I feel on top of this little game,” says Fred. He continues to have seizures, but luckily, almost all of them occur while he’s asleep.
Published in the fall of 2013, Fred’s book is narrated by Jordyn, as she navigates through a tricky situation to find her own solution. 
“It’s a children’s book that’s a celebration of my family during difficult times,” expressed Fred. “Despite my struggle with brain cancer, which is three years and counting, I found a way not to lose sight of who I am.” 
Nancy Pencer, President of the Gerry & Nancy Pencer Brain Trust, remembers the moment that Fred presented her with his book-- and the offer to donate proceeds to The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.
“My eyes were tearing up and my heart was in my stomach,” she says. “To have been through all that he had been through, and for him to sit down and write a book and have all the proceeds go to the Pencer Centre, it was beyond selfless.”
Fred’s cancer has left him unable to work and Triple Trouble has been a welcome distraction. “Writing and illustrating have been like therapy for me,”says Fred. “I want to make my presence known in terms of people who are suffering from brain cancer.”   
Triple Trouble can be ordered online for $25 via or by calling the Pencer Centre at 416-923-2999. To date, sales of the book have raised more than $10,000 for the Pencer Centre.
“My final message is for everyone to remain optimistic, live your life, and do what you want to do.”