If you meet Percy D’Souza today you will find it hard to imagine that he struggled with severe, treatment-resistant, psychotic depression.
Percy comes across as high energy, engaging and positive. And yet, just over a year ago, Percy was, as he puts it, ‘a living corpse’.
“I had given up on life,” he recalls. “I was consumed by shame, fear and hopelessness. I had come to believe that I was good-for-nothing, of no value to anyone.”
Brought up mostly in India in a middle-class family, Percy has had a relatively privileged education and a fairly successful career in healthcare sales and marketing.
At the age of 60, Rob felt it was time to finish his high school diploma.
It was always something he had hoped to achieve, but so often mental illness and other factors alter the path that so many take for granted.
“Life just got in the way,” he says.
After leaving school to help his family financially, Rob joined the Armed Forces serving as a cook in Petawawa. It was a career that would afford him the chance to travel and see Egypt and all of Europe.
After the military he did a number of odd jobs before landing with the Toronto Transit Commision (TTC).
Paul Szakacsi was 21 when he arrived in Canada from his native Hungary eager to build the life he dreamed of.
Already a machinist by trade, Paul worked at General Motors (GM) for a decade before he began to design and fabricate his own products and started Rider Tool and Manufacturing Co. in Oshawa, Ont.
"He was so talented and determined to be successful," notes Eva, his loving wife of 43 years.
Paul built a nice life for his blended family, which included four children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He loved to travel, play cards and socialize. He loved hosting parties and being around people he cared about.
When he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease four years ago, Paul was still very much the same man.
"When we found out, he was still healthy and we travelled to Europe," recalls Eva. "I'm glad we did."