SA’s ‘Thyroid Lady’ moves to Australia

By admin
23 April 2010

In 2005, the year Mariëtte Chippindall became Mrs South Africa, she also became widely known as ‘‘The Thyroid Lady’’ after YOU wrote about her years-long battle with depression and weight gain as a result of thyroid problems.

The response from readers was so huge she ended up writing a book about the ‘‘silent epidemic’’ and devoted herself to helping others with the problem.

Then armed robbers attacked Mariëtte, husband Giles and daughter Tamlyn (now 16) in their home in Waterkloof Ridge in Pretoria. It was a trauma they simply couldn’t get over. It drove them to move to Queensland in Australia.

‘‘It’s physically and emotionally exhausting but we’re over the worst of it and it’s such a pleasure seeing Tamlyn blossom,’’ Mariëtte says by phone from their new home. ‘‘It’s the first time she hasn’t been scared and been able to move around without fear like a normal young person.

‘‘It’s a big adjustment for us older ones. For the next six years Giles has to live in South Africa for six months every year before we can get permanent residence here and also to look after his business.’’

Despite the jolt of uprooting she’s found Australia a great haven. ‘‘It’s a country for children. They have amazing freedom to come and go, ride their bikes, go to parks and be safe on a beach.’’

‘‘I adore Australia,’’ Tamlyn says when she’s handed the phone. ‘‘I wouldn’t consider returning to South Africa. There are so many things to do and it’s safe here.’’

She enjoys the wide variety of school subjects, among them law and marine biology. And she loves the inexpensive, efficient public transport.

One thing Mariëtte is really glad about is her and Giles’ decision not to sell the house they lived in for the 23 years since their wedding. They’re keeping it as it is, furniture included. ‘‘It’s for Giles when he’s working there and for when we visit.’’

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