The Little Optimist

Written by: Sithandwa Ngwetsheni

Between 2001 and 2007, Bertish spent a total of 200 days in hospital fighting an undiagnosed and incurable tropical bacteria that attacked his heart valves on three separate occasions.

Nine years later Greg’s infection remains in remission and he now dedicates his time to inspiring hope in young children facing and recovering from dread diseases, operations and hardships.

Bertish plans to sail a tiny 8ft, single-handed children’s sailing dinghy, referred to as an Optimist from Cape Hanglklip across False Bay, around Cape Point to the Langebaan Lagoon on the West Coast. The voyage is 200km in total – and is all about raising funds for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital Trust.

The 200 kilometres and R200 000 he plans to raise through his adventure are symbolic of the 200 days he spent in hospital between 2001 and 2007.

He plans to launch the boat, the Little Optimist, in what he expects will be a calm weather window between mid-March and the 30th of April. The biggest challenge will come when rounding Cape Point where winds are known to gust up to 100km per hour.

The reason behind Bertish’s intrepid adventure is to inspire hope in sick children everywhere.

The money will go to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital Trust to assist them in building a new Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, saving the lives of thousands of critically ill or injured children.