August 16, 2017
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Mary Ana’s love for baking original cakes emerged when she started watching the TLC television series, Cake Boss, on Netflix. After watching the show nearly every day, Mary was fascinated by her favorite baker, Buddy Valastro. Buddy is the owner of Carlo’s Bakery, which appears on the television show and operates in seven different states with the help of his family members. Like many who watch the show, it was Mary’s dream to be able to meet the cake boss and bake her favorite cake with him at The Lackawanna Factory. Despite Mary’s disability and the multiple challenges that come with Spina Bifida, her determination and strong work ethic has always motivated her to accomplish anything that is thrown her way.
Mary’s story was first featured when she was only 3-years-old, on Dateline NBC, after becoming the 11th baby to undergo in-utero fetal surgery for Spina Bifida/Hydrocephalus. From an early age Mary was very independent. She quickly picked up on her medical routine and incorporated it into her daily regimen with little to no help from others. Recently, Mary graduated from high school while also working a part time job at the library. When she wasn’t working or attending school, Mary could be found at the bookstore reading, learning the theme song to the movie Frozen in several different languages or watching her favorite television show, Cake Boss.
For the past four years, Mary dreamed of opportunity to bake with the man who had influenced her to follow her dreams when facing tough obstacles. After learning that Buddy’s mother was fighting against ALS, she felt a connection to the renowned cake artist that gave her the confidence to defy the odds against her battle with Spina Bifida. For Mary, spending the entire day with Buddy was more than just a dream come true, it was also the chance to conquer something that she had never done before. What once seemed like a dream to Mary, soon became a reality. The memory of baking with Buddy Valastro will always be stored in her heart as she continues to fight her battle against Spina Bifida.