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Optimistic Greg Bertish to sail the seas to raise money

Greg Bertish – being the optimist that he is – believes that he can conquer Cape Town’s waves in a tiny eight foot-long dingy, aptly named ‘The Optimist’, to inspire children while raising funds for the Children’s Hospital Trust.

A big wave surfer and previous Stand Up Paddle Board and Life Saving Surf Ski, National Champion , Bertish aims to raise R200 000 by embarking on an adventure to cover 200km in his small Optimist boat. Expected to take seven days, the battle against the seas will be symbolic of the battle that many of South Africa’s sickest children take part in every day as they fight to get better.

The Children’s Hospital Trust, which fundraises to advance child healthcare through the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, is optimistic that Bertish’s adventure will be a resounding success. The 44-year-old dad has already proved to the world that he too can battle against the odds. At the age of 31, he underwent open heart surgery to remove bacteria, which had attacked his aortic valve. It took a year of rehabilitation for Bertish to recover. The 200km that he will cover in the Little Optimist represents each day that he spent in hospital.

Funds raised by Bertish will go towards the expansion and the upgrade of the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, saving the lives of thousands of critically ill or injured children. The Hospital holds the largest PICU in Africa. Children in need of specialised critical care are referred from all over the continent, yet this vital unit only has 22 of the 26 ICU beds set aside for children across public and private sectors in the Western Cape Province. This facility also provides emergency care for little patients from around South Africa as well as other African countries.

This PICU is in serious need of an upgrade and expansion to increase bed capacity, develop a high care unit for neonatal patients as well as establish isolation cubicles. The high care unit and the isolation cubicles will ensure optimal treatment through better infection control, which is critical in ICU. Increased capacity will also mean a comfortable space for overworked staff and anxious parents.

Bertish says, “I know me as an adult would have helped me as a kid, to believe in myself sooner, dream bigger and reach for more. I believe I can do this for thousands of sick and needy kids. Help the little Optimist and myself to inspire them!”

Bertish is seeking sponsors for his adventure. The Little Optimist is expected to launch its adventure in March/April 2016.

If you wish to contribute to Greg Bertish’s adventure and help raise funds for the Trust



  1. It will be a magnanimous achievement for a extremely worthwhile cause. Go For It Greg and ‘sterkte bru’ – we with you all the way.

    Comment by Leslie Purchase on September 9, 2015 at 12:12 pm

  2. Hi Greg, a great initiative for a great cause, well done! I run a charity called The Sabrina Love Foundation ( for children with special needs and have had a close integral link with the childrens hospital. I would be happy to contribute personally towards your project. Next year in March we also ride as a charity group in the Cape Town Cycle Tour. Being 400 strong its a great fundraiser for us. Perhaps it would be a good colaboration to link the ride and your sailing adventure. Just a thought but if your keen to explore further give me a call on 0828802604. By the way I recently finished a surf trip with True Blue in the Maldives. Very cool!.

    Comment by Tony Lubner on September 10, 2015 at 4:36 am

  3. Thank you so much Tony – Greg will be in touch.

    Comment by Verity Reynolds on September 11, 2015 at 12:50 pm

  4. Hi Greg, I am the TracTrac partner in SA, tracTrac are the world leaders in live sports / event tracking. The Oppie Class world wide use TracTrac for all their major events. TracTrac would be very willing to sponsor the Live Tracking for your Little Optimist campaign.

    Comment by John Leslie on September 14, 2015 at 6:48 am

  5. Great John, we have forwarded your details to Greg, and he will be in touch.

    Comment by Verity Reynolds on September 14, 2015 at 7:50 am

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