Cindy Lou Hensley McCain was born in 1954 in Phoenix, Arizona. She was raised there by James Hensley, who founded Hensley & Co, a beer-distribution company, in 1955. She studied education at the University of Southern California and went on to teach special education. While vacationing with her parents in Hawaii, she met John McCain and they were married in 1980. The couple settled in Arizona. McCain served as both the vice president and director of Hensley & Co. Upon the death of her father in 2000, she became chairwoman of the company, which by that time had become one of the largest and most profitable distributors of beer in the United States. That same year she helped her husband campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. After suffering a stroke in April 2004, she temporarily relocated to Coronado, California, to recover. McCain supported her husband’s second bid for the Republican presidential nomination, and she was instrumental in restructuring the campaign staff after financial difficulties threatened to end his run in the summer of 2007. In the 1990s and 2000s, she worked with numerous humanitarian groups, including the Hazardous Area Life-Support Organisation (HALO) Trust, a group dedicated to removing land mines and other potentially hazardous remnants of war; Operation Smile, a medical organization that helps repair facial deformities in children in developing countries; and CARE, which is committed to fighting poverty, particularly among women.