Meet Leah and Fred Bergman
Leah and Fred have been CIKA members since 1998. They are the parents of Simon who was taken from them by Hodgkins Disease in 1996. After their devastating loss, this amazing couple wanted to ensure that any child diagnosed with cancer should get the best care possible. They believe very strongly that the best way to achieve this is by research.
They are now the very proud grandparents of eleven grandchildren two of whom are named Simon.
In December last year the CIKA members gathered together at Linger Café for a lovely luncheon and to recognise the achievements of some longstanding members. Leah and Fred were presented with the CIKA champion award in recognition of the length of their commitment and their passion for all things CIKA. They apply their combined energies to support CIKA so many ways. Here are a few of them.
They are responsible for virtually all of the printed material that is so important in keeping members in touch, publicising our events and promoting our fundraising activities to the public at large. They are active in sourcing and collecting product for CIKA stalls and events. They can regularly be seen assisting at our monthly stalls and other fundraising activities, and engaging in their community to promote awareness for the importance of funding research into paediatric cancer.
In the early years Fred and Leah had a printing business in Ascot Vale, where they kindly printed our newsletters, made badges for us. In addition to this, they produced all of the pull-ups and silent salesman stands, used for all our large fundraising events, in stunning colour. All this was done at no cost to CIKA. After retirement from his print business, Fred set up some of his machinery at his home where, to this day, he can print flyers and other material for CIKA.
Whenever CIKA needs large quantities of donated goods to be collected for our stalls and other events, Fred and his trailer are always available with no questions asked. Fred just gets it done. If he spots a bargain while on his rounds he can be counted upon to snap it up and donate it for subsequent sale. All of this is in addition to Fred’s other work at the RCH where he is a registered volunteer who gives his time as an ‘Information Guide’ directing people to where they need to be.
Fred and Leah were always front and centre as volunteers at the balls, dinners dances and many of our other major fundraising events. As time has passed they have continued to support us in many other ways, in particular with our RCH stalls for which Leah also uses her eye for a bargain and her family connections to locate a wide range of goods that she donates for sale. These two generous people have long been a part of the strong backbone of CIKA and have contributed greatly to its success as an organization dedicated to the fight against childhood cancer.
In keeping with this family tradition of service, their daughter Ruth now assists on the stalls, their daughter Judith has run fundraising events for CIKA and, recently, Judith’s daughter, Danielle, used her Bat Mitzvah as an opportunity to raise money for CIKA.
The family’s dedication to community service does not end with CIKA. In Leah’s case, it involves volunteering for C-Care, an organisation whose members make, prepare and supply perishable and non-perishable wholesome food and essentials to vulnerable people within the Jewish community. She helps with the preparation of food at the commercial kitchen premises, and oversees the weekly stalls which provide extra fresh produce to the residents of the local housing commission flats. She also volunteers for WIZO, the Women’s International Zionist organisation, for which she helps on the weekly pop up fundraising stall. Additionally, she is a member of the Bereaved Parents Group, a group of women who have all lost a child from either sickness or accident. They gather and support each other knowing that they all share the same loss, and participate in a variety of weekly activities ranging from exercise classes, art and crafts and cafe outings.
Fred is active in Beit Raphael, which describes itself as “an organisation that cares for the physical and emotional needs of families, whilst their loved ones are undergoing hospital treatment, by providing them with a quiet place where they can stay and recover their emotions in a private setting”. It also runs a medical shuttle to assist in patient transport. In addition to this, Fred volunteers, when needed, for Chèvrah Kadisha, either by sitting with a deceased person until burial so that they are not left alone or by attending the funerals of people whom he usually doesn’t even know so that they may have ten Jewish men as traditionally needed to officially run the service.
We at CIKA are, indeed, fortunate to Leah and Fred as part of our team.