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Fred Bertram's Story

Fred Bertram didn’t even know he was sick back in December of 2012 when abdominal pains sent him to F.F. Thompson Hospital. But he was diagnosed with cancer that already had spread. unfortunately, surgery was not an option.

“So I went right in for chemotherapy,” says the MacKenzie-Childs furniture artist. “My first session lasted nine-and-a-half hours, and I was in the hospital for 10 very long days.”

Fred’s weekly chemo sessions were made less burdensome by the fact that the Sands Cancer Center is just a five-minute ride from his home in Cheshire.

“That certainly made things a lot easier for my wife Julie and me,” he adds. “During my sessions, I would meet people in the waiting room driving all the way from Dundee or Hammondsport. They had to travel so far and they had to do it twice a week. That’s such an incredible hardship.”

Fred, who was declared cancer-free exactly one year after his initial diagnosis, feels blessed and has found a novel way to give back and help others in need.

He convinced his employer, the renowned furniture maker MacKenzie-Childs, to donate a chair that the F.F. Thompson Foundation will put up for bid in a silent auction to benefit the Sands Cancer Center Patient Needs Fund. But it’s not just any chair – it’s a unique Forest Fish chair that’s valued at $1,995. Fred put in 30 hours of his own time to paint the chair.

“I really wanted to give something back and this seems like a pretty good way,” he says. “The Forest Fish Chair is the thing collectors want to have, and I know there are a lot of collectors in the area who would love to have this one.”