Meriano’s Bake Shoppe in Guilford, CT is run and owned by three siblings, Andrea Meriano Fanelli, Liz Meriano and Anthony Meriano III. At first glance it may seem like your typical bakery, but this particular bakery is helping in the fight against cancer; and their mission now has wheels.
Their late father, Anthony Meriano II, was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2007 and in 2009 they found it had metastasized to his lungs. At that point he began treatment with Daniel Boffa, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery (Section of Thoracic Surgery) at Yale School of Medicine, and the two shared a special bond. Meriano even referred to Dr. Boffa as his ‘second son.’
Fueled by their father’s fight and the care that Dr. Boffa provided him, the siblings decided to donate part of their proceeds from selling bakery t-shirts and cannolis sold at farmer’s markets to support Dr. Boffa’s research efforts. They recently acquired a truck and attend private events, fairs, and local events where they sell cannolis, with a portion of sales being directed to Dr. Boffa through the Thoracic Oncology Program Fund at Smilow Cancer Hospital. The money will help support Dr. Boffa’s research, which focuses on the prevention of tumor metastasis and the early detection of lung cancer, and treating it in later stages.
“The money donated by the Meriano family and people like them, has led to a discovery in studying cures for late stage cancer, and laid the groundwork for research funding in the millions,” said Dr. Boffa. “They are going above and beyond to make sure their father’s memory is honored, and that research into this disease continues. It’s truly wonderful.”
Andrea Meriano Fanelli commented that a bakery truck was something they had talked about, but there was always a reason not to, but after meeting Dr. Boffa and seeing the respect with which he treated their father, they knew they had to do something. “He treated my father like any other patient, even though we all knew his diagnosis wasn’t a good one, and provided him with the best quality of life. You can’t ask for more from someone who is treating a loved one,” said Andrea. “His dedication gave us the final push we needed to start up the bakery truck.”
They have had great success attending events in New Haven and neighboring towns, and often hear stories from patients being treated at Smilow that are eager to donate more. The siblings commented that Dr. Boffa deserves this funding because of the excellent care he provided for their father, and the wonderful research he is doing to help patients like him. “You can’t repay these people for what they do, but we can support the research and help him to find a cure for this disease,” said Andrea. “I personally may not be able to cure cancer, but I can make a great cannoli, and maybe that is what my role is meant to be.”
The Meriano Bakery Truck can be found by visiting their Facebook page or calling the bakery at (203) 453-2924. They are often seen on Cedar Street and the Saint Raphael’s Campus in New Haven on Wednesdays, easily identified by the sign proudly displayed on the front door of the truck that reads, ‘A portion of the proceeds from this truck will be directed to the Thoracic Oncology Program Fund at Smilow Cancer Hospital’.