Inspiring others to SURVIVE and THRIVE

Our Little Optimists

Adam Klopper

“The baby that changed my life.” Greg Bertish

By age 3 Adam had had 3 open heart surgeries and is credited as being the person who inspired Greg to devout his life to helping children in need. Adam has gone on to survive and thrive. He is a junior NSRI member, a top soccer player and an inspiration to kids everywhere.

“I am a 17 year old student in matric at Silvermine Academy. I am a very social person and can fit into most social groups. I have a few passions. I am a huge soccer fan, I love the ocean and boats. Next year I am planning on going overseas to work on super-yachts and to complete my commercial drone pilot license to follow that as a career. I have been part of Sea Rescue in Kommetjie for the last few years and love saving lives and assisting people in need.”

Adam embodies the true spirit of The Little Optimist: NEVER GIVE UP

Cadi de Jager

Cadi had a brain tumour removed when she was 6 years old and has used her experience to inspire and motivate other sick children. She is a Mini Ambassador for Red Cross Children’s Hospital and was part of the dynamic team who raised R10 million for the new ICU at Red Cross. She was instrumental in raising R100 000 of the total amount!! What an achievement for a Little person!

She helped paint the Red Cross Hospital exterior and also came out to support Greg and the little Optimist when he sailed around the Cape.

A deeply religious young lady, she knows God has a plan for her life. Her dream is to become a paediatric neurosurgeon and help other children like her!

Thaakirah Matthews

Thaakirah is a sparkly youngster, presently 8 years old, who was born with a congenital heart disease. She has undergone numerous heart and brain operations, her first one at the tender age of 3 months. She has gone on to beat the odds and is presently an active and healthy youngster. She is a child reporter and radio co-host with her sister on their own show at RX Radio “HeartBeat with Sumayyah and Thaakirah”. She is also an Ambassador for Brave Little Hearts South Africa and does her own Awareness at schools with her “CHD Friday” Campaign, A campaign that educates about World Birth Defects with focus on Congenital Heart Disease.


She loves ballet, sailing and her cat “Mr.Snuggles”!

Anisha Singh

Anisha Singh is a 16 year old girl who lives in Malundi Township, Craigieburn, Umkomaas, South Africa.


In August 2014 she was in her sixth year of school (Grade 6) at Naidoo Memorial Primary School in Craigieburn. She was getting excellent grades in all her subjects, when suddenly without warning she was struck down with the auto-immune disease called Systemic Lupus. This disease affects multiple systems and organs in the body.


She was immediately hospitalised but there was a three-month delay in a correct diagnosis being made and unfortunately this resulted in severe damage in her body. She lost the ability to walk and after 5 years she is still in a wheelchair. Her eyesight is greatly impaired as there was damage to the central optic nerve. She has also been rendered incontinent and has to use adult diapers.

Anisha Singh is a 16 year old girl who lives in Malundi Township, Craigieburn, Umkomaas, South Africa.

In August 2014 she was in her sixth year of school (Grade 6) at Naidoo Memorial Primary School in Craigieburn. She was getting excellent grades in all her subjects, when suddenly without warning she was struck down with the auto-immune disease called Systemic Lupus. This disease affects multiple systems and organs in the body.

She was immediately hospitalised but there was a three-month delay in a correct diagnosis being made and unfortunately this resulted in severe damage in her body. She lost the ability to walk and after 5 years she is still in a wheelchair. Her eyesight is greatly impaired as there was damage to the central optic nerve. She has also been rendered incontinent and has to use adult diapers.

The result of all the above is that she has been unable to attend school for 5 years as the South African school system does not cater for stay-at-home invalid children.

Her low vision is a handicap. The fact that she has been isolated in her home for 5 years with no mental stimulation whatsoever is definitely a contributing factor to her being way behind in her education.

The reason that we needed to appeal for help is that this family is financially destitute. The father, Anil, could not continue working when Anisha became ill because she was in hospital in a critical condition for six months and the parents spent as much time as possible with her. Once she was back home and paralysed, the father was needed to lift her as her mother is a small lady and can’t lift her. Anisha gets a disability grant of R1600 per month.

Anisha is an outpatient at Albert Luthuli Hospital and goes twice a year for thorough medical examinations. She is on a lot of medication to keep her condition stable.

She needed intensive physiotherapy but unfortunately she wasn’t able to get this from the local hospital. We then started fundraising to get Anisha to a private physiotherapist. A lady from Australia funded the first few months of physio and then we were put in touch with Greg Bertish and he very kindly organised a fundraiser in Umkomaas. Since then we are so grateful for the outstanding amounts that have funded the physiotherapy from July 2018 up to the present and we thank The Little Optimist Trust for this.

Anisha in May 2018 could not even stand on her own two feet even holding on to someone. She was often sick and had pains in her legs and joints. She was a tragic figure sitting on her bed all day.

Now, however, she is walking up to 20 metres, either with a walker or with crutches as you will see from the video. She is so much more confident and so much stronger in all her muscles. She is optimistic and is never willing to give up until she has gained her independence again. She is hardly ever sick now and is very conscious of eating healthy foods.

She knows how much people have given to help her and she will not let anyone down.

Marge Vice
16 May 2019

Close Menu