I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with super woman, Candace McDonald. We covered a lot in a short amount of time (30 mins) and I left feeling like I really got to know this special woman.
Candace is one of the kindest and compassionate people I have ever met. She is generous with her time, her vulnerability, and her heart.
She’s a mother, fiancé, world traveler, hands-on sister to her special needs brother, Iain, beauty guru, fashionista, workout lover, and Executive Director of Generation Rescue, founder of revitaPOP, and the Medical Academy of Pediatric for Special Needs (MAPS).
I got to sit down with Candace over Moon Juice and chat about how she’s able to do it all!
A former vegetarian with headaches and brain fog only to find out later that she was allergic to gluten. She stopped supplementing carbs for meat and is now a happy, energetic meat eater, which makes sense as she’s an O+ blood type!
After she had her son, Bodhi, she got back into moving her body and found Tracy Anderson which she’s been doing for the past five years! She says she’s in better shape now than when she met her fiancé pre-baby!
She once stopped working out for a few months while traveling for sports for her son and realized the importance of dedicating time for herself (more on that later). Her co-workers and family were begging her to get back to the gym!
Candace and her fiancé are self-proclaimed wanderlust’s. In fact, they met through their travel agent! She loves finding the next hot-spot, and like me, planning trips gives her great pleasure. She travels at least every 4-5 days and only takes a carry-on. Woah!
Last year she spent 40 days in France with her family. She’s lived in Dubai and New Zealand, and is magically able to maintain her health, relationships, and all her jobs.
Here are some of her favorite travel hacks, products, and all the ways she stays grounded.
Travel & Wellness // Pack a plant based protein powder, apple cider vinegar (in a mini shampoo bottle), and Moon Juice packets.
Travel Tips // Try to get on the local time-zone. Take advantage of the concierge — bring your list and ask them where the local market is. Recreate the same wheel that’s at home to make your travels a comfortable and easy experience. Invest in a really good carry on luggage, Tumi is her favorite. Roll all your clothes and items. Decide all of your outfits before leaving. Keep a makeup bag full of small products in your suitcase at all times.
Favorite NY Hotel: Crosby Street Hotel
Next travel spot // Plans to take her son to Machu Picchu — there’s a train that goes up the canyon to the hiking area and is planning the whole trip for when the train is available and running!
Not only is Candace the Executive Director of Generation rescue but is the founder and owner of revitaPOP, a vitamin B12 lollipop, and Medical Academy of Pediatric for Special Needs (MAPS), a program that prepares medical professionals in delivering the best possible care to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other special needs conditions.
How do you manage all the different hats?
“You have to take care of yourself first before you take care of anyone else. If you don’t take care of yourself you’re not available to anyone else”. Amen.
Candace was approached by a head-hunter three times to work for Generation Rescue. At the time, she wanted to stay where she was at her current job to learn more about PR and marketing.
One day the head-hunter gave Candace “Louder Than Words“, Jenny McCarthy’s book on her journey of raising a son with Autism. Candace read the book in a few hours and was able to understand what this organization was really about. The head-hunter called her on Monday and asked if she was ready to be apart of something that will be very challenging but will change the way people view autism. “You’ll be apart of something that’s going to change an entire movement”, he told her.
She was ready. She had always wanted to be apart of something bigger. She met with then Executive Director and had a feeling that one day that would be her job. Soon after she gave birth to Bodhi and they promoted her to run the company.
In the beginning Generation Rescue had no funding. It was up to Candace to ensure that they raised 1.5 million dollars in the first year of her being there.
What is Generation Rescue?
Generation Rescue is a place that brings together people who are looking for a larger purpose to help others that don’t have the economic means to afford basic services for healthcare. Over the years she’s been able to bring those two groups together, in fact, 99% of the donor base doesn’t have a family member affected with autism. These donors are solely connected to the cause of autism.
Generation Rescue grants programs to families that provides doctors visits, lab testing, and nutritional counseling. GR requires that the grant families put their child on a gluten-free and casein-free diet. This is because 80% of kids with autism who try a specialized diet improve in speech, language, communication, and social behaviors — all areas that families are struggling with. 60% of kids they work with are are pre-verbal.
One of the really cool things that Candace has found is once parents see their child improving, they start taking care of themselves too.
Being a mom and running a company has really grounded her. It has made her a much more structured, and less emotional human. She has to be there for everyone at the organization, her son, and her fiancé. Over the past few years she’s mindfully prioritized being present in moments — whether good or bad.
“There’s going to be challenges anywhere no matter what job you’re in. There are different challenges during different times of your life.”
After reading Jenny McCarthy’s book, Candace found a lot of similarities in the symptoms of brother, Iain. Then 19 year old, Iain was only able to engage in ‘yes’ or ‘no’ conversations. She took charge and put Iain on a gluten-free, and dairy-free diet and was able to get him a proper diagnosis. He had friends for first time in his life, he was able to answer open ended sentences and engage in a conversation. Integrative Medicine changed Iain’s life.
Iain and her son, Bodhi have a special relationship. The two of them together bring her so much joy. “My brother Iain is the guiding light of my family.”
“Sometime you have to sit in the challenge and really observe and investigate what’s happening in order to figure out what the best solution is”
Motto // “This too shall pass”
Favorite Reads // Quarter, Vanity Fair, Love, Economist, Sunday Edition of the New York Times. Dave, her fiancé updates her on all things finance and business.
Nighttime regime // Calm & sleep herbs at night, 5HTP, melatonin spray before bed
Photos by Shauna Faulisi ©