When she and I first met over a video call, there was an instant connection. Because she shares herself and her faith so passionately, I felt as if we had known each other for years. That’s the kind of person she is. A beautiful soul with a heavenly spirit.
Gilianny is also the founder and head pastry chef at Noah’s Sweet Treats. A small boutique bakery located in a very specific place. In her kitchen, in a house that she shares with her husband and their 12-year-old son, Noah, who by the way is whole reason why she started baking in the first place.
More than just having his name on his mother’s company (and heart), Noah also has a genetic disorder called, Patau syndrome, a condition that is caused when a person has an extra chromosome 13. This has left Noah with numerous and severe disabilities. Most babies born with Trisomy 13 never make it past their first year of life. But Noah is not your average kid. He is a blessing to this young family.
Statistically speaking, Noah had a five percent chance of seeing his first birthday. Now that he has hit that milestone over 12 times now, it’s safe to say not a single day of their life together has been taken for granted. As Gilianny said, “Watching my son going through transfusions, hospital visits, skin infections, and blood work almost every week was devastating...I saw Noah going through the most painful moment of his life and it was heartbreaking.”
When Noah was five, he was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic syndrome, which is a disorder caused by a disruption in the production of blood cells. Because of his health, Noah needs constant care. And getting outside help is out of the question during a pandemic. Then, in the summer 2020 Noah kidneys began to shut down and the only help available was to give him daily peritoneal dialysis. Because of COVID, that would have to be done at home.
While sheltering in place and caring for her son, Gilianny began to feel the weight of life and the stress that comes with it. So, she started to bake, first as a way to fight off depression. But before long, she needed to do something with all those sweet treats, so she started selling her cakes and baked goods to raise money for an outside deck for her son. And that’s how Noah’s Sweet Treats first began. Given the tight-knit community she and her husband are a part of, the response was overwhelming to say the least.
“Everyone loved what I was making. So, I decided to keep baking for Noah to be able to offer him more quality of life.” And it seems to be paying off. You can tell by the pictures that each treat is a culinary masterpiece, both inside and out.
Now that I have personally enjoyed one of her creations, I can see why she has so much repeat business. This past October, I went to Gainesville to stay with our mutual friend who first introduced me to Gilianny. While I was there, I not only met the chef in person, but I also got to taste her Brazilian Chocolate Coconut cake. It was seriously one of the best cakes I’ve ever tasted. In fact, I heard people say that a lot while I was there meeting folks who now only use Noah’s Sweet Treats as their go-to for cake and other delicious confections.
It’s no surprise that her love for her son became her love for everyone else. You can taste it in every bite. On one hand she wants to raise money for her son’s care. But on the other hand, as she said it herself, each of her creations has “a bit of the sweetness of Brazil” added into it. Although she is proud of where she’s from, Gilianny is more grateful to have been blessed in this place where she is. “I thank God for this special gift.”
Although Noah himself cannot eat these amazing cakes, he is never without her love. Which is why Noah’s Sweet Treat’s is the perfect name for her company. The name could be about the cake itself or the person who baked it. Either way, Noah is a lucky boy. Because his mother wasn’t going to let life’s challenges dictate the quality of their lives. Yes, Noah’s health will always be a what it is, I think I can say his life is improving. And so is everyone else’s. Thanks to Noah’s Sweet Treats.
In a recent Instagram post Gilianny wrote, “I found a new passion that it’s making my heart full of joy. Baking is allowing me to show love and to serve others and I am extremely thankful that God gave me this opportunity.”
Gilianny is busier than ever. Word is getting out there. People are flocking for her cakes, cupcakes, dochino's, cookies, and specialty cones. As of today, Noah's Sweet Treats are making their way into people’s lives. And her creative imagination continues to be the delight of birthday parties and anniversary celebrations, office parties and special celebrations. Filling bellies with sweet goodness. And filling hearts with joy.
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”