Fred Levine lives in Montreal, but spent much of his childhood in the Laurentians. He has many fond recollections of cherished family time. In particular, he recalls taking ski lessons at Mont Avila, Chantecler and Mont Tremblant. His two brothers currently have homes on Grand Lac Long in Lanthier and he visits whenever he can. Fred thinks of the Laurentians as being one of his favorite places because he enjoys the beauty and peace it offers. I guess Fred comes by this enjoyment honestly as his great grandfather and his family settled in La Macaza when they first arrived in Canada.

Fred always adored drawing since he was a little boy. His focus and passion was “cartooning”. When school was on strike, he used this time to initiate a stationery company to create unique memo pads for customers. The pad featured a cartoon of that particular individual (e.g., a mom who loves to read or a hockey player). Fred was a born cartoonist. A cartoonist who also enjoyed writing!

He was raised in Beaconsfield. His family later moved to Westmount. Fred attended Brandeis University, near Boston and graduated Cum Laude in Psychology with a minor in philosophy. He then moved to Toronto where he met his wife and pursued a career in advertising. His family began with his eldest daughter Jordyn, then triplets Jaimee, Jesse and Justin came along. The result was a very busy, hectic family life, with children running everywhere. The family lived in Toronto for the past 20 years where Fred worked for various advertising agencies.

As time passed, Fred realized he still enjoyed writing. So, with having triplets in the family, he thought it would be fun to write a book about them, but initially he never thought about illustrating it.

One night Fred had a seizure in the middle of the night. The father of four was sadly diagnosed with anaplastic astrocytoma, a rare malignant, cancerous brain tumor. His whole life and his family’s life were turned upside down and inside out. How could this be? Fred endured many difficult weeks, months and years of intense treatment. These were and continue to be extremely tough times. Cancer left him susceptible to seizures which he still experiences today. He could no longer work and decided to focus his energy on completing the children’s book he started to write. Then it dawned on him that he would also like to complete amusing illustrations to accompany the text. It took him a full year to complete these illustrations which became his form of therapy. The outcome? Fred Levine’s book was published in 2013. A marvelous, “feel-good” children’s book entitled Triple Trouble: One Good Deed Deserves Another. It is intended for children aged 6-12 years old and is a celebration representing his family during difficult times. Adults can read this book too, as the message and creative expression are applicable to everyone. It is a playful poem with humorous cartoons that capture the benefits of a family where kindness is contagious. A pay it forward life lesson with the ultimate message of “being there for each other”. It was a unique way to demonstrate to his family how much he loved them.

Fred is donating all proceeds from his hard-covered book, which sells for $25, to the Gerry and Nancy Pencer Brain Trust, a non-profit organization that generates funds to the Gerry and Nancy Brain Tumor Center located at Princess Margaret Hospital. Fred decided to do so because he saw and met dozens of patients and families going through heart-wrenching times.

Despite the last four years and counting, Fred found a positive way to not lose sight of who he was. Although Fred’s cancer left him unable to work, Triple Trouble was a very welcome distraction. Writing and illustrating became his lifeline. He says cancer was never his first choice, but he wanted to use it to create an optimistic outcome. His optimism continues as Fred is now working on a beautifully written and illustrated second book.

Fred’s final message for everyone – “Remain optimistic, live your life and do what you want to do. Remember a very important life lesson: One good deed deserves another.

Fred, you are truly an incredible human being and what a lovely legacy you will leave for your family!

If you are “on the lookout” for a uniquely illustrated book as a gift for one of your children, a grandchild, or a friend, why not consider purchasing one of Fred’s books? You can do so for only $25.00 (while knowing that the funds will be donated to an extremely worthwhile cause!) You will then share the message to be kind and “pay it forward” to others. Triple Trouble can be ordered via www.pencerbraintrust.com or by calling 416-923-2999.