Respiratory therapist bakes for his colleagues to unwind after long shifts with COVID-19 patients

Amy Coveno

It has been a long, difficult year for front-line health care workers, but for the respiratory therapy team at Cheshire Medical Center, a colleague with a passion for baking added some sugar and spice to the grueling shifts.

Daniel Liberatore has two very different professions, both are gifts. At Cheshire Medical Center, every patient he sees is struggling to breathe. He and the respiratory therapy department are dedicated to easing their way, and at the end of a tough week in the hospital, baking is a salve.

“Some of the monotonous things when you are repeating something over and over and over again, you kind of get into, it’s almost like meditating,” Liberatore said.

Liberatore came back to the patient setting full-time in 2019 after a 10-year journey following a childhood dream of owning his own bakery, Master Pieces Cake Art.

After baking 45 wedding cakes in a single season, his passion began to turn into a grind. So, Liberatore closed his doors and resumed baking as a hobby. His colleagues are lucky recipients of his delicious diversions.

“When I started working here, I started writing down the birthdays in my calendar of the staff in the respiratory therapy department,” Liberatore said.

He estimated he has baked hundreds of birthday cupcakes, sweetness to take the sting out of a tough year. This month, Liberatore was among the first health care workers in the state to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, protection he said he is grateful to have.