What does it mean to be #NaturallyBrave? In celebration of the launch of Australia's first naturally sugar free soft drinks, Nexba is sharing a series of 'Naturally Brave' stories from the brave people who keep our beaches safe. Our second story comes from Ali Najem - volunteer lifesaver at Wanda SLSC.
Ali's story demonstrates two kinds of natural bravery - the kind of bravery needed to overcome self doubt and the other the kind you muster up when faced with a life or death situation.
Ali Najee's Naturally Brave Story
Ali didn’t know much about surf lifesaving growing up. In fact at age 17 Ali did not even know how to swim. Only a few short years later at the 2016 Aussies, Ali cemented himself as one of the nation’s top athletes, taking out the Open Male 2KM Beach Run at the Aussies on the Sunshine Coast.
The rise from unsure school boy to revered athlete makes Ali Naturally Brave. Not knowing how to swim meant Ali started the course to his Bronze Medallion from nothing. He remembers being petrified about it, thinking he wouldn’t be able to complete it.
He credits Wanda SLSC with being most supportive and welcoming with members freely assisting and training him to make sure he would pass. Believing that he truly belonged came late one evening, around 7pm when the beach was deserted. Ali’s training group were there as they had just finished a running session.
The whole group heard a mother crying out for help, her three kids had gotten caught in the rip out the front of the surf club which and were in great difficulty. Two of Ali’s training partners rushed up to get some rescue boards as they urged me him swim out and keep the children afloat as long as possible.
The young kids were from a migrant family and fortunately, Ali could communicate with them and keep them calm whilst helping them in the conditions. It was that rescue that Ali really felt like he belonged as he saw so much of himself in the kids he rescued.
Ali knew only a few years earlier that could have been him in the rip, not being a strong swimmer, but today he is the naturally brave sole performing the rescues