Marci Prebianca started a bakery in 1990, specializing in muffins with a healthy twist. She was the only bakery at the time, in her area, offering gluten free and vegan options. Known as “Marci’s Muffins”, she spent long hours at her shop, and at the same time was committed to raising her two young boys.
“I constantly had my helpers with me, and while it was hard at times having the boys there with me, I loved every minute with them,” she says.
The bakery, located near Hamilton in Canada, was thriving with 17 employees and many loyal customers. Marci and her husband decided to try for another baby and were ecstatic when they learned they were expecting their third child. Her pregnancy was normal and her baby was growing perfectly. But, after delivering her 9+ lb bundle of perfection, he unexpectedly passed away. The horrific experience is something Marci still has a difficult time explaining, even decades later.
“There is no way to describe how awful it was. I had two other children with a business that was in full swing and inside I was broken beyond repair. I didn’t know how I could possibly continue on without my son.”
Marci says life unraveled after returning home from the hospital without Isaac in her arms. For close to six months, she kept her bakery running, but the emotional pain from her traumatic experience was too much. She decided to close shop to spend time focused on her boys and her healing. That was in 2000.
At the same time, she prayed daily for God to give her another baby. She said that she didn’t feel done as a mother and hoped God would honor her desire and need for another child.
“I got a very clear message that it was going to be a girl and to start trying in December,” she said. “With chasing my boys around and closing my business, that all slipped my mind. Months later, I couldn’t stop bleeding and that is when I found out I was 8-weeks pregnant. It was troubled from the start and we didn’t even know if the pregnancy was viable. I was ordered by my doctor to be on light duty.”
Marci and her husband told everyone in their circle to pray – to pray for their baby girl to make it. They couldn’t possibly lose another child.
“Prayers worked and we joyously welcomed our baby girl in October. I was able to stay home with her and my youngest son.”
Marci says that life was normal and good. Though she never could forget about her son, in Heaven, having her daughter gave her increased purpose and meaning. Her mindset was focused on being the best mom she could be. One day, in church, her mindset shifted a bit when she heard a guest speaker talk about their missions in Africa.
“The ministry was called ‘Baby Safe’ and it was based in Ocean View, South Africa. They were talking about saving abandoned babies who had been left in places like nap sacks on the beach, in abandoned vehicles by mothers who had unwanted pregnancies and didn’t know what to do. I met the woman who started the organization and right away I knew that I personally needed to help.”
Marci and her son had the opportunity to go to South Africa to witness the devastation firsthand. They raised the money to travel across the world by selling baked goods. It didn’t occur to her until after the trip that the true reason she needed to support Baby Safe in a ‘boots on the ground’ way was because she wanted to save other children after not being able to save her own son. This reinvigorated her to look at her former business and seek out how it could continue to help her raise critical funds for this very worthy cause.
“It was 2009 and this is when I knew I had to start my business again! I didn’t jump right back in – I spent a few years getting ready by selling baked goods on the side and formulating new recipes.”
Marci’s Bakery officially reopened and quickly became a hit for those in and around the Hamilton area. The bakery is award-winning and continues to offer healthy options for those on restrictive diets. Marci says the love she puts into each baked good is so rewarding because she continues to give back charitably.
However, Marci’s challenges were not over, as more devastating news hit her family.
“Our family experienced tragedy once more when one of my granddaughters was born with a very rare disease. We noticed that she wasn’t hitting her milestones and that is when we discovered the terrible disease she had. It requires a feeding tube, an apparatus to sit or stand, and other complex complications.”
Marci now sells The Georgie Cookie, in honor of her granddaughter Georgie, for $5 each and 100% of the proceeds go toward finding a cure.
“My giving has expanded to helping another very needed cause. God gave me the gift to bake and it’s incredible when you can use your God given passion to help others.”