The Joey Bergsma Retinoblastoma Awareness Foundation (501c3)
Our mission is to achieve global education and awareness of Retinoblastoma and other
treatable eye diseases of infants and toddlers in order to preserve vision and life
Joseph Hollander Bergsma, Joey, died needlessly on December 22, 2000. Through his story, we have
saved the sight of children not only in Florida and across the United States, but in other countries as
well. The awareness program I developed has been adopted by the government of the Dominican
Republic. I am currently working with Children’s Services to make sure every parent in Palm Beach
County has the information to protect their child’s sight starting at birth. I have met with Dr. Ana Via-
monte Ros, the Surgeon General of Florida, to discuss an awareness program for our state.
I conduct presentations and CEU workshops for colleges, schools, hospitals, medical organizations,
health departments, children’s agencies, civic organizations, etc. across the state of Florida, as well
as other states. For example; the Kansas Phi Theta Kappa organization invited me to their state con-
vention as a Keynote Speaker, presented to the National Black Nurses Association Convention in
Chicago, conducted a workshop for the Childcare Association of Georgia in Atlanta, etc.
“Joey’s Story” has been recognized by the Associated Press, newspaper, radio and television agen-
cies across the US and in other countries. I was a guest on the Montel William’s show which resulted
in saving the lives of at least two children.
The Foundation has received hundreds of proclamations from cities and counties throughout the state
of Florida, as well as, two Resolutions from the Florida House of Representatives and five Proclama-
tions from the office of the Governor. I have worked with legislators in Washington DC and met with
the Congressional Vision Caucus numerous times which resulted in a National Resolution for aware-
ness and the vital importance of early detection. I have lobbied with the National Children’s Cancer
Foundation for 5 years. Joey’s story was recognized by the National Children’s Cancer Society in
Missouri and added to their website.
My background on is basically life experience….I learned the hard way and I
am trying to prevent this from happening to another child and their family. Everyday was a learning
experience from the time Joey said “Grandma, my eye hurts”…I learned continually throughout the
last year and a half of Joey’s life. We were in New York for 8 months and then Houston Texas for
over two months. Since Joey’s death I continue to learn from the families, adult survivors and doctors
who contact me from across our nation and our world.
We have saved vision and lives of children through awareness and education. “What you need to
know” is vital information that everyone needs to learn. With each presentation we have a chance to
save the sight or life of another child. Our children deserve to have the best sight possible when they
start school. Joey is smiling.
Pam Bergsma (Joey’s grandma)
619 South K St.
Lake Worth, Fl. 33460