head-shot-fav-web     Cindy Girard has dealt with depression since the tender age of 11, when her parents divorced. By the age of 14, she had tried to kill herself. In spite of depression haunting her on and off, she managed to complete an Honors Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, followed by a Bachelor of Education. She taught high school Mathematics and Science for fifteen years, mainly at an adult education center, where many of her students had to cope with learning disabilities, Asperger’s Syndrome, and ADHD.
     She had to sacrifice her career due to personal physical health challenges and the extreme behaviors of her two special needs children, who were later diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (autism). The next eighteen months saw Cindy move to a completely new community, the collapse of her marriage, the abuse of her 10-year-old son by a trusted relative, and the shouldering of sole responsibility for her two special needs boys 24/7/365. All this with meager government financial assistance and very little personal support, while dealing with chronic fatigue and chronic respiratory infections. Needless to say, this string of circumstances, one after another, created the perfect storm, which caused Cindy to spiral into terrible depression.
     Fast forward thirteen years, and Cindy now enjoys a depression-free life. She resides in a small rural village in Canada’s capital region, and she and her brother have started a social enterprise. Genuine Girard Foods strives to provide delicious food for those on restricted diets. Cindy loves designing new recipes and helping others enjoy wonderful food that doesn’t make them sick! As the company grows, they will train and hire those who face disabilities, visible and invisible, including mental health challenges and autism. Cindy has been speaking about depression and autism for a few years and continues to
spread awareness and hope for those dealing with mental health issues and autism in their own lives or in the lives of those they love.
     Her two young adult boys now spend most of their time at their father’s in the city center, while they work towards their dream to establish a computer game design company. Cindy, meanwhile, has
her own dream of someday becoming a crazy cat lady.