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105-Year-Old Grandma Survives Covid-19 And Credits Diet Of Gin-Soaked Raisins For Beating The Virus

Photo: Aleksandrs Samuilovs / Shutterstock
Golden raisins

Many people strive to reach their eighties and nineties, but not all do.

105-year-old Lucia DeClerck has gone beyond her hundreds, though, and is still going strong. She has two things that she credits to her longevity.

“Prayer. Prayer. Prayer,” she said. “One step at a time. No junk food.”

Aside from saying prayers, she has an odd diet that may be to thank for her long life: nine, golden gin-soaked raisins every morning.

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“Fill a jar,” DeClerck said. “Nine raisins a day after it sits for nine days.”

Like using charcoal to brush teeth or drinking a raw egg out of a glass, DeClerck’s children and grandchildren alike remember her eating these raisins for as long as they can remember. It’s been part of her daily routine.

“We would just think, ‘Grandma, what are you doing? You’re crazy. Now the laugh is on us. She has beaten everything that’s come her way,” her 53-year-old granddaughter Shawn Laws O’Neil said.

Most recently, DeClerck has survived the year-old Covid-19 and is back to her daily routines after being away from her nursing home for about two weeks. Covid-19 is just one of many events that DeClerck has faced in her century-long life.

She was born in Hawaii in 1916 to parents from Spain and Guatemala.

Since then, she has seen and lived through two world wars, the Spanish flu and the deaths of three husbands and a child.

Before settling in at Mystic Meadows Rehabilitation and Nursing in Little Egg Harbour, New Jersey, she moved around quite a bit. She moved from Hawaii to Wyoming, then back to Hawaii before moving to New Jersey with her oldest son.

“She is just the epitome of perseverance,” O’Neil said. “Her mind is so sharp. She will remember things when I was a kid that I don’t even remember.”

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On her 105th birthday, Jan. 25, DeClerck learned she had contracted the virus just days after receiving her second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, according to the home’s administrator, Michael Neiman.

According to Neiman, she showed little to no symptoms and in about two weeks she was back in her room. This is where she was always seen wearing her iconic knit hat, trademark sunglasses, and holding her rosary beads.

After celebrating her birthday, DeClercks' family found out that she had gotten the virus. They hoped for the best but feared for the worst.

“We were very concerned,” her 78-year-old son, Phillip Laws said.

“But she’s got a tenacity that is unbelievable,” he said. “And she’s got that rosary — all the time.”

DeClerck was one of 62 residents of Mystic Meadows to get the virus, where four of the patients died, Mr. Neiman said.

“We’re as careful as possible,” he added, “but this finds a way of sneaking in.”

The fact that DeCleck had already been vaccinated helped aid in her survival. That and the possibility that gin-soaked raisins are a secret medicinal treatment.

There are always stories about people in their hundreds, living their life and striving. It is rare, however, when they have faced challenges like DeClerck has. Covid-19 is now just another roadblock in her rearview mirrors.

“Now all of us are rushing out and getting Mason jars and yellow raisins and trying to catch up,” O’Neil said.

Who knows if nine gin-soaked raisins really are a powerful aid to longevity in life.

We know they are at least working for someone, though.

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Tomás Diniz Santos is a writer living in Orlando, Florida. He covers news, entertainment, and pop-culture topics.