Wild Northerner Magazine Summer 2018 - Page 44

BY SCOTT HADDOW

Wild Northerner staff

Cassie Deschenes tries hard to contain her emotions with a smile, but she bursts out laughing uncontrollably and buries her face in her arms.

Her father, Chad, is telling a story about how the wholesome and natural snack bars Cassie makes and sells – called Bar none by Cassie – has helped a friend of a friend have a more regular routine for going to the bathroom since eating them.

It is a funny moment and the father and daughter revel in it. It’s pure, simple and good.

Exactly like the bars Cassie makes. She is 19. Cassie was born with cerebral palsy. She has over come any challenge put in her way and pushed beyond the limits many thought she had. Cassie has been making her own snacks for much of her life, with the help of her parents, Chad and Annette. Three years ago, the family started making granola bars. She sold the bars at a Special Olympics fundraising event two years ago and more at a Lo-Ellen Park high school event. The bars were a sensation and people called wanting more. Cassie makes the bars with her parents in their home in the Greater Sudbury area. The bars are organic and sugar-free and vegan friendly. In the past eight months, orders have gone bonkers. Cassie and her family crew are making and selling between 200 and 400 bars per week.

Cassie isn’t doing it for the money – she has donated lots of cash to good causes - rather she is doing it to help others enjoy a better lifestyle.

“I’m helping people be healthier and it’s a good feeling to do that,” the 19-year-old said. “It’s a good job for me and it keeps me busy and happy.”

When Cassie was born, the doctors didn’t give out a lot of hope as they indicated she might never walk or talk. Cassie was in the hospital for her first month as she needed to develop a gag reflex in order to eat properly and control seizures. This gag reflex came and Cassie was able to eat and by the time she got home, she has done nothing but flourish. She beams with confidence and purpose. Cassie is one of those people who makes others happy just being around her. She is a positive force.

“She proved a lot of people wrong,” Chad said. “There were a lot of challenges when she was born. The doctors give you a worst-case scenario. We got her home, and she improved and got better every day. It’s been go, go, go with her ever since.”

Cassie enjoys eating. Not anything. It has to be good for her. The family has spent countless hours in the kitchen coming up with different and healthy snacks and meals. The family is even creating a second kitchen in the home to help accommodate Cassie further with her cooking exploits. The time building and keeping bonds strong in the kitchen is close to Cassie’s heart.

“Being with family and cooking with family and eating healthy is important,” she said.

There are currently two main flavours of the bars: maple banana and apple honey. Cassie has added a third bar to the line up, peanut butter and chocolate. They make and bake the bars twice a week, sometimes making 300 bars in one day. It usually takes the family about four to six hours to go from mixing to forming to baking and packaging and labelling. The bars have no preservatives and are only available by ordering through the Bar none by Cassie Facebook page. They can be picked up at a pre-determined location or delivered.

“Cassie can be a bit bossy in the kitchen,” Chad said with a big laugh. “She likes to be organized and if Annette and I are not up to speed, Cassie makes sure we get working. It’s actually cool family time for us. The three of us have a passion for cooking and being in the kitchen. It’s good family time.”

Cassie has goals and goes after them with tenacity. She keeps detailed accounts of her sales. Cassie has benefited greatly from the experience.

“Cassie has always liked to help others,” Chad said. “It makes her happy. She does her best at everything no matter what it is, whether it is school or laundry or making lunch. She always has a game plan. It is less worry for us for her to find something in life to do. Cassie found it herself. It has given her more confidence and more independence. We are proud of what she is doing.”

When Cassie isn’t making tasty bars or lending a hand to help other people, she can be hard to pin down. Cassie has a long list of things she loves to do and being outdoors is one of them. Cassie enjoys canoeing and kayaking and swimming with her dog, Yuki. She has a personal trainer and goes to the gym two to three times a week. She also bowls, swims and plays bocce, and is part of the Special Olympics. She enjoys time in the garden and compost as well as picking blueberries. In the winter, Cassie likes snowshoeing. She is also a green belt in judo, having done the sport since she was three.

“I like to be busy,” Cassie said.

Find Bar none by Cassie on Facebook here: (LINK)

HEADLINE: Healthy and happy life

2nd headline: Deschenes inspired to help others

Healthy and happy life