AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, about 70% of people who have celiac disease are undiagnosed. It’s a serious autoimmune disease that makes someone very sick if they eat gluten.
One Austintown mom learned her young child has celiac disease. Now, she’s on a mission to make sure her kid still gets to enjoy all of life’s delicious treats. She started a business so others can still enjoy their favorites.
Brittany Fenstermaker is a mom of four. Before starting her at-home bakery, she said she loved baking as a hobby.
Her daughter Nora was diagnosed with celiac disease about three years ago.
“When she was diagnosed, I made her the promise that any of the foods that she loved with gluten in them, I would do my best to not only replicate but make them better in gluten-free versions,” Fenstermaker said.
She says one of the hardest things is making sure no gluten comes into contact with her daughter’s food, especially at restaurants and special events. Their home is completely gluten-free.
“Things like salads with croutons. People will say, I’ll just pick the croutons off. It’ll be fine and it won’t. Unfortunately, for us, a crumb is enough to cause damage,” Fenstermaker said.
When a person who has celiac disease eats gluten, their body will attack the small intestine. The longer celiac disease goes undiagnosed, the more likely it is that person will develop other autoimmune diseases, cancer, infertility, liver failure and other conditions.
The only cure is to avoid eating gluten, which is why Fenstermaker started her cottage bakery, called Silly Yak.
“Sometimes it just helps them to say, yes, it does stink and it’s not fair, and have that moment of just allowing them to be sad and allowing yourself to be sad as well because it’s a big change,” Fenstermaker said.
Silly Yak offers special-order birthday cakes, cupcakes and other sweets so that kids like Nora don’t have to miss out.