A 105-year-old woman who was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus three weeks ago is gearing up to celebrate her next birthday in early June after beating the virus. Marie Ferise, who lives at Homestead Health Care and Rehabilitation Center in northern New Jersey, is also a cancer survivor, Fox 13 reported.
Ferise, who didn’t know she had the virus until she tested positive for COVID-19, joked with staff that for her birthday she wanted to take her mask off to celebrate.
“I was nervous,” Lori Donkersloot, a nurse at the facility, told Fox 13. “She is the eldest resident we have here. We all were quite worried about her.”
Two of her five grandchildren told the news outlet that they were also nervous about her fate.
“I was very upset,” Alan Clark, her grandson, told the news outlet. “Did a lot of praying, every day, every night. Hoping she would pull through. I knew she was a strong woman.”
Clark said her family will celebrate her June 3 birthday with her via FaceTime if they are still unable to visit due to social distancing restrictions at nursing homes across the country.
Ferise, who was born when Woodrow Wilson was president of the United States, is a lifelong resident of New Jersey, according to the NJHerald.com. The Spanish Flu pandemic, which has drawn comparisons to the current coronavirus crisis, claimed the life of her grandfather.
“There was so much death, you couldn’t even bury someone on time,” she told NJHerald.com, ahead of her 104th birthday. “People were piled high in the cemetery.”
As of Wednesday, New Jersey had confirmed 131,890 cases of COVID-19, and 8,549 deaths.