Anisha Singh was diagnosed with the auto-immune disease, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, four years ago at the age of 11. The disease has rendered her wheelchair-bound, vision impaired and incontinent, all of which has hampered her education as no school is able to accommodate her. With dedicated physiotherapy sessions, Anisha should regain some mobility again, however her family is unable to provide financial assistance.
Anisha’s Road to Recovery Campaign was established to assist Anisha, with the most pressing financial concern physiotherapy appointments. Having started with her physiotherapy on 26 April this year, Anisha has already shown massive progress. From not being able to stand, she is now able to walk, with the aid of a walker, for about 5 metres. One foot is particularly weak and may need a splint to make her fully mobile again.
Donations, to date, have contributed towards the R2 000-a-month physiotherapy appointments, and Anisha Singh’s Road to Recovery Campaign aims to raise sufficient funds for year-long support. Putting some weight behind this campaign is Cape Town’s Greg Bertish of The Little Optimist – a well-known big wave surfer, SA Champion Lifesaver and Stand Up Paddle Boarder who has overcome his own challenges.
In 2001, Greg picked up a rare tropical bacterium on a surf trip in Indonesia which attacked his heart valve. Once he was finally diagnosed, he underwent open-heart surgery followed by a year-long rehabilitation, only to have the bacteria return five years later and destroy two heart valves. This required a second open-heart surgery and another lengthy rehabilitation; however, Greg is no typical heart surgery patient.
Turning the experience into something positive and life-affirming, Greg established his NPO, The Little Optimist, which raises funds for children. One such fundraiser started in April 2016 when Greg sailed an eight-foot Children’s Optimist dinghy 200 kilometres – 200 to match the number of hours he spent fighting the life-threatening disease in hospital. This journey was undertaken by Greg to inspire sick children to get better, to be optimistic and to never give up – because small people can do big things. Greg is now an ambassador for the Children’s Hospital Trust and the National Sea Rescue Institute, as well as being a founder of the Shark Spotter Programme.
Greg will be attending the fundraiser where the movie, An Optimistic Adventure, detailing his journey will be shown with Greg discussing his story and ambitions with the audience. In addition, there will be cultural dances by an Indian troupe dance and live singing performances for a fun-filled evening of entertainment. A tuckshop will be available for cooldrinks and snacks, and there will be lucky draw prizes – including the 50/50 Lucky Draw – taking place during the evening. Attendees will also get the chance to bid on a number of exciting items being auctioned.
Tickets are R30 per adult, and R10 for children under 12 years, available for purchase from Marge Vice on 078 060 6510 or Seshni on 078 524 5791. The event will be held at DSB Hall in Craigieburn opposite Moodleys Spar