At 32, Mr Meihuizen was faced with a life-altering experience. Returning from a business trip to Greece, he was struck by a rare illness. His battle with Brainstem Encephilitis resulted in partial paralysis and left him wheelchair-bound. In an attempt to improve his confidence, he joined the Toastmasters club in Pinelands in 1992. He hasn’t missed a single meeting since.
Now, 24 years later, the club is proud to be celebrating with him in achieving this award.
“Coming out of hospital I lost all confidence in myself. You could say I became extremely introverted. I joined an NGO and at committee meetings I was so shy I could hardly say ‘boo’ to a goose. The NGO’s chairman at that time was a gentleman by the name of Taffy Roberts. He was also a past District Governor for Toastmasters in South Africa. Taffy came over to me at one of our committee meetings, looked me straight in the eye and said ‘Lindsay what you need is Toastmasters in your life.’ He challenged me to go to a Pinelands club meeting. I did And the rest is history!”
Mr Meihuizen, now Vice President of Membership for Pinelands Toastmasters, said the Distinguished Toastmaster award takes able-bodied individuals approximately 10 to 12 years to accomplish: “It has taken me 24 years. However, the encouragement along that journey has always been positive. What an amazing journey with a wonderful organisation,” he said.
The Pinelands club will be celebrating this occasion with Mr Meihuizen today, Thursday November 3. For details about visiting the club or membership, email firstname.lastname@example.org; or follow @PinelandsTM on twitter.