OPTIMiS…t Prime

Greg Bertish is a man with a big heart. His story is inspiring and shows that resilience together with a positive mindset and an unfathomable amount of optimism you can achieve anything you put your mind to. He uses his life experiences to encourage and mentor young children to DREAM BIG and no matter what, follow those dreams.

“Greg Bertish takes resilience to a new level” – Prof Wayne Derman
MBChB BSc (Med)(Hons) PhD FFIMS

In 2002, at age 31, I underwent open heart surgery to remove an un-diagnosed & un-culturable tropical bacteria, that had attacked my Aortic Heart Valve.  It took me a year of rehab to recover. I lost my taste and smell, as well as some speech and cognitive skills due to the lengthy operation & complications.  I fought back, to be just “FINE” again, and to be the person I was before.  It came back in 2006, and after another surgery, re-infections and over 100 days in hospital I beat it again.  I used positive thought, meditation, research and training to change the Perceived Reality of a heart patient and became an even better person and athlete.

I have Mechanical heart valves, I am on the blood thinner Warfarin, manage my blood levels, dosage and potential risks. I don’t know if it will come back, or what my future holds. But while Im alive, Im sure gonna be kicking! I manage my situation and have to be a lot more careful. But I still travel the world, ride big waves, compete, adventure, love, talk, council, advise and fund raise. – You can read more about his story and journey on the the following website: https://www.all-heart.org/

“Fate rarely calls upon us at a moment of our choosing.” – Optimus Prime, Transformers

I met Greg yesterday after watching the documentary ‘OPTIMIST‘ at The V&A Waterfront as part of The Ocean Race programme. The documentary follows his journey – the dream of sailing 200km around the Cape of Storms in the “Little Optimist”. https://youtu.be/_rjDu8e5g4A

Conquering a childhood dream, Greg set out to sail around the Cape of Storms in a tiny 8 foot children’s sailing dinghy. While watching the documentary I was left in awe at the sheer determination Greg shows as he navigates the treacherous ocean. Eight days in the shark infested waters of False Bay, around Cape Point and up the West Coast of South Africa to reach Langebaan Lagoon…each day came with its own set of challenges of course.

According to Wikipedia – In Pythagorean numerology (a pseudoscience) the number 8 represents victory, prosperity and overcoming…just a little fun fact I realised while writing this post…Greg fulfilled his dream in 8 days in an 8 foot dinghy…he overcame, was victorious and through this journey he is leaving a legacy of prosperity for young children.

Optimism (noun) – hopefulness and confidence about the future or the success of something.

Speaking to Greg I could feel his optimism come through passionately. His positivity and optimism is infectious ( I use this word in a positive light indicating the change that occured from when he survived the life-threatening infectious bacteria).


I work with the Heart & Stroke Foundation, The Children’s Hospital Trust and am an ambassador for the Friends of the Children Association at Red Cross Hospital.  I learned to shift not only my own, but other peoples and some doctors Perceived Reality of what a Heart Patient/Survivor is and can do.  I now manage and live this new reality and  I use my experience, recovery and adventures to inspire, prepare and assist others to believe and get through tough and life changing events and situations.” – https://www.all-heart.org/

Never, Ever Give Up!

A LITTLE OPTIMIST can go a long way!!!!!