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Grandmothers in Their 90s and 100s Are Beating Back the Virus – and Sharing Important Advice

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A global pandemic is often compared to a war, both in terms of the efforts required of millions of people to overcome a deadly threat, as well as the suffering it can inflict on society.

For the elderly, the comparison is quite appropriate: after all, while many of us are feeling the intense pressures of two months of sheltering at home, those belonging to the “Greatest Generation” faced major disruptions in their lives, ranging from spending time in the military to facing rations, displacement, and other challenges such as loved ones lost in a war, weddings placed on hold, and long-term plans being suddenly upended.

And guess what? Those who faced the tragedies and hardships of the past are still with us today, and they may have some lessons to teach us.

Lucille Ellson of Orlando, Florida, was born on Dec. 30, 1917, just as the Spanish Flu began emerging from the barracks and camps of the U.S. and European military camps of the First World War. At the ripe age of 102, she heard tales of how her uncle and father contracted the deadly flu pandemic only to survive, just in time to face the Great Depression. And that, too, she survived.

Lucille Ellson on her 102nd birthday in 2019 – Photo by Jane Pickle

And when she was finally supposed to get married in 1942, the attack on Pearl Harbor happened. Her fiancé Floyd enlisted in the Navy to join the fight, putting her marriage on hold. But a few years later, Floyd returned home after being honorably discharged – and the two finally got married and started a family.

Ellson isn’t the only living proof that living through war and depression can strengthen the spirit. While a disproportionate amount of those lives lost to the pandemic have been elderly, many octogenarians, nonagenarians, and centennials have also survived the disease.

In March, 95-year-old Italian grandmother Alma Clara Corsini became a symbol of hope after recovering from the virus, becoming one of the oldest people in the country at the time to survive COVID-19. Her good fortune was celebrated and shared with the world by no less a figure than Pope Francis himself.

IMAGEN VIRAL. En Italia un abuelita de 95 años es el primer paciente curado de Coronavirus. Alma Clara Corsini vive ha…

Posted by Papa Francisco on Saturday, March 21, 2020

Since then, another Italian grandmother, this time 104 years old, has also beaten back coronavirus. Ada Zanusso, who was living in a nursing home in Northern Italy, had developed a high fever and shortness of breath before she tested positive for the virus. But the centenarian was able to recover with no loss of her intelligence or lucidity, according to medical staff.

Another recent example comes from the U.K., where 99-year-old Carrie Pollock recovered after a long stay in the hospital following a coronavirus infection. Pollock, who once worked in the British Special Branch, was admitted to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth after experiencing hallucinations and suspected pneumonia. However, she has since recovered and returned back to her home, but not before inspiring the hospital staff who rescued her.

Karen Clark, a senior sister at Queen Alexandra Hospital, said:

“These are worrying times for many and to see her leaving hospital after recovering from COVID-19 gave the staff a real boost.”

Peggy’s granddaughter Jess Keeley told Portsmouth News:

“She is an absolute fighter and we are so proud that she has done so well. She is already back at home and walking to strengthen her legs again.

“She loves her talking books and loves a natter. She is an inspiration to our whole family. The hospital staff did an amazing job to care for her and nothing was too much trouble. We were able to call her when she was in isolation which was lovely.”

Rita Reynolds, a grandmother from Liverpool, also survived at 99, coming in for a tie with Pollock for the honor of being one of the oldest British survivors of the virus.

And then there’s Cornelia Ras, a 107-year-old Dutch woman whose recent birthday celebration on March 17 was followed the next by the symptoms of COVID-19. Against all expectations, Ras was able to beat back the illness and is currently “perfectly healthy.”

We’re not medical experts, but we’re hopeful that something about these strong women, mothers, and grandmothers enabled them to bounce back from this frightful pandemic. And we have no doubt that their past experiences in worrying times helped them through this ordeal.

For Ellson, the math is easy:

“I learned … from living, I guess. You see a lot when you get to 102.”

Ellson also has a simple lesson for those who are anxious about the current pandemic. She told Washington Post:

“I’ve been through so many things… To cope with this virus, and all that’s going on, I would tell people to not get stressed about planning far ahead.

“You can’t do it. A long time ago, I started making a list every morning of what I had to do. It was the only thing I could control, and I stuck to it, you hear me?”

Typos, corrections and/or news tips? Email us at [email protected]

Good News

Keanu Reeves Praised As Video of Him Offering Seat to Lady in Subway Resurfaces

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Keanu Reeves is an actor who has long been loved by audiences —and not necessarily due to his acting skills, but due to how nice the John Wick star is.

And now, Reeves is once again earning praise as a “true gentleman” after resurfaced video footage shows Reeves giving up his seat on the subway.

The clip was shared by Instagram film fan account Cinemonkeys where it has since earned nearly 45,000 likes.

The video footage dates back to 2011, when it was shared on YouTube by a user of the video-sharing platform.

At the time, Reeves was already a superstar riding on the fame he earned from the Matrix, Speed, and a number of other blockbuster hits.

When Reeves notices a woman carrying a heavy bag, he quickly points to his seat and asks if she would like to sit. The woman accepts and Reeves gets up without hesitating to let her take his seat.

Reeves, ever the model citizen, then stands and holds onto a subway pole while carrying his bag.

The video has since been watched over 27 million times and was even cited in a 2019 Time magazine profile of the actor describing Reeves as the “soul mate” of the internet.

The resurfacing of the clip on Instagram once again impressed users of the platform.

“This human being’s soul honestly shines so bright,” wrote one user.

“OMG I love him in every single way,” another person commented.

His kindness knows no bounds,” commented someone else.

Keanu is set to reprise his role as Neo in the upcoming fourth Matrix film directed and written by Lana Wachowski, who co-directed the earlier trilogy with her sister Lilly. He will also return to the silver screen in John Wick: Chapter 4, which will be released in 2022.

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Animals

Drunk Man Rescues Injured Baby Bird By Sending It To Animal Shelter… In An Uber

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An injured baby bird received a new lease on life after a young man who was inebriated had the good sense to send the little creature to an animal shelter because he and his friends were too drunk to drive.

In the Summer of 2019, a small lesser goldfinch suddenly appeared by itself at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. The center’s chairman, Buz Marthaler, was notified by a volunteer who sent him a photo.

“It was a picture of this bird, and it had come by Uber,” Marthaler told FOX13. “It was just crazy.”

As it turns out, the tiny bird – which was only two weeks old – indeed rolled up to the site by its lonesome, the sole passenger in an Uber vehicle called by concerned citizens who found the injured creature.

Among those good Samaritans was Tim Crowley, who had been “day drinking” on that Saturday before he and his buddies witnessed the little bird fall from the sky.

“Impromptu, sitting in some camp chairs, hanging out, having a few drinks when we had a visitor fall out of the sky,” he explained.

Crowley then snapped a photo of the bird and sent it to the WRCNU, which instructed him to immediately bring the bird in. However, the group obviously couldn’t drive since they had been guzzling booze all day.

So Crowley decided he’d hail a cab for the creature.

“At first it was a joke, like, ‘Hey, maybe we should just call Uber!’” he said. “Then we were like, ‘No, really. Why not? We’re paying them.’”

As it turns out, the bird – since named “Petey Uber” by staff at the rescue center – likely would have perished if not for Crowley’s quick thinking.

Marthaler remains impressed by Crowley’s move and shared the news on its Facebook page.

“While we feel we’ve seen it all and can’t be amazed by anything, there is always someone out there to prove us wrong,” the shelter’s post read. “Thank you to the rescuer who helped this little one get the care it needed in a timely manner and thank you for keeping yourself safe and others on the road safe as well.”

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Animals

Binx the Cat, Who Survived Florida Condo Collapse, Found and Reunited With Family

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Amid the tragedy of last month’s collapse of a South Florida condo building, there was a tiny bit of good news when a cat named Binx, who lived on the ninth floor of the Surfside building, was found safe and returned to his family.

“I’m glad that this small miracle could bring some light into the lives of a hurting family today and provide a bright spot for our whole community in the midst of this terrible tragedy,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava in a Friday press conference, reports NPR.

Levine Cava explained that a volunteer who feeds street cats in the area recognized the cat near the building before bringing him to an animal shelter, where it was then identified.

Gina Nicole Vlasek, the co-founder of the The Kitty Campus rescue group, posted on Facebook that a black cat had been found near the rubble of the group before it was brought to the shelter on Thursday night.

“We are so grateful to be able to help in any small way,” Vlasek said.

“All we needed was a ray of hope in this tragedy,” she continued. “Today was one of the most amazing days.. one of the survivors came to see the cat and to determine if it was her families cat and IT WAS!”

The mayor said that animal control workers are continuing to work to recover any pets that may have survived the horrible collapse.

The 12-story Surfside condo collapsed on June 24. At least 79 people have been confirmed dead, with 61 additional residents remaining unaccounted for.

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