Little boat with a brave heart

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Cape Town big wave surfer Greg Bertish knows all about courage and optimism, and it is these qualities that are woven into his self-published children’s book The Little Optimist.
As a young man, Greg contracted a life-threatening infection that attacked the valves in his heart, and had to undergo two open-heart surgeries to repair the damage. Greg was fortunate to survive the ordeal but remains reliant on daily blood thinning medication.
Greg says: “This experience taught me that the only way I would overcome my infection was to find the courage to see past the tubes and machines into the future, which meant being optimistic. It’s a very difficult thing to ask someone to do when all they can think about is dying, but having the love and support of those around me is what encouraged me to never to give up and give into what I was told I could never achieve due to my infection.”
In 2016, Greg embarked on a 200km journey up the Cape coast in a children’s Optimist dinghy to raise money for the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. This journey inspired the writing of The Little Optimist.
Illustrated by Chip Snaddon, the brightly coloured book centres on a tiny (and underestimated) sailing boat that embarks on a brave quest to save a friend in trouble. Its message? No matter how small and insignificant you might feel, you can achieve great things if you believe in yourself.
To buy a copy of the book, check for stockists. For each book sold, another is donated and delivered free to a sick or needy child.

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