Building a Business Despite Cancer & Covid-19 with Iliana Perez-Ruiz

The year 2020 was a difficult one for many, but for Iliana Perez-Ruiz, each month brought a new life-changing challenge. On top of a global pandemic, Iliana underwent a sudden divorce, lost her job, and was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer. Even with so much thrown at her, Iliana showed her strength. In today’s episode of Lift U Up: Inspiring Health Stories, Iliana tells her story of how she overcame each and every curveball 2020 threw her way, and how just a year later, she’s cancer-free, a successful business owner, and happier than ever.

Iliana Perez-Ruiz is no stranger to overcoming challenges. While the rest of the world was coping with the beginning of a global pandemic, Iliana had the added stress of a fresh divorce from her husband of over 15 years. Just a short time later, she found out that she had lost her job, a position in the insurance industry which she considered the “peak of her career,” and a position she worked hard to achieve. With the need for distraction (and extra time at home), Iliana found a hobby that pulled her through.

Since she and her daughter were spending more time at home together, they began to bake a dessert called Pavlova together – a special treat they usually had for special occasions. When it turned out even better than expected, they questioned, “Why not put this on Instagram and see what happens?”. Thanks to friends and family spreading the word, and exciting local news hits (like on WSVN and )… what happened ended up being the start of their new business, Oh My Pavlova.

However, in the midst of their growth, Iliana got even more troubling news: After a self-examination and a trip to the ER, Iliana was diagnosed with stage 1 Ovarian cancer. Undergoing surgery and treatment was not easy, and for a while, Oh My Pavlova had to be put on hold. But as time went on, Iliana persevered and found her way back to her business and making cakes once more for her community. She used the business as a positive distraction, and eventually (after successful treatment) turned it into a full time job.

Today, Iliana is growing Oh My Pavlova cancer free, with new employees, a bigger kitchen space, and a bright future ahead.

What else can you expect in this episode?

  • How their business introduced Pavlova to local communities.
  • How getting diagnosed with cancer puts your life on hold, and how the pandemic affected every aspect of this experience.
  • How treatment and recovery looked for Iliana, and how her business was a positive outlet.
  • The mindset shift that kept Iliana moving forward.
  • How Ovarian cancer is a silent killer, and the symptoms every woman should be mindful of.
Building Business Against All Odds

Where to find Iliana and Oh My Pavlova:

  • Visit Oh My Pavlova on Instagram to DM Iliana, place an order, and follow along.
  • Call or text Iliana at 786-537-5779.

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