An incredible story of Covid-19 survival

An incredible story of Covid-19 survival
An incredible story of Covid-19 survival

As the world grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic, the story of 102-year-old New Hampshire woman can be described as inspiring

As the world grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic, the story of 102-year-old New Hampshire woman can be described as inspiring. This story of the survivor, as she is now being termed as, is truly an inspiring one to the mankind. She beat the Spanish Flu in 1918, much later into the life, the deadly cancer, and now Covid-19. It requires not just luck but a die-hard fighting nature in her.

She has just refused to lay down her body defences in front of the invasion of diseases and battled her own cells in the two pandemics and even in cancer unlike nobody. At 102-years old, one would think Mildred "Gerry" Schappals has seen a lot – but what she has gone through and survived is quite remarkable. She was only a baby when she caught the Spanish Flu in 1918 – the first pandemic that swept through the United States.

"She was only 10-months old when she had it. The doctor had given up on her said that she would likely die due to high fever. They didn't even bother to pin the diaper on her when they changed her because she didn't move," Julia Schappals, her daughter, told the media. But she made it. Went to college – got married – had two children and became a teacher in Nashua.

Then in her 60s and 70s she was diagnosed with breast cancer and colon cancer, a double jeopardy for anyone. Medical reports suggest that she had radiation for the first one, the breast cancer, and had a surgery first and a whole chemo regimen for the colon cancer. She survived both, her family recalls. Was she afraid? Who knows? At least, her family did not report it. There is also no record of her saying, 'enough is enough and let me pack by bags'. Gerry is now at an assisted living facility in Nashua. Let us roll up her life a bit and we come to know that she has come down with Covid-19. Well, quite devastating for anyone at her age. She is just 102 and she beats that too.

The family said it was surprised. But then again, not surprised that she survived it. The secret of her success, if we call it, came out when the family questioned her about her survival skills. She is said to have kind of pooh-poohed it. "Yeah. I was sick for a couple of days. It wasn't bad". That is it: "It was not bad". That is the attitude. It is in her DNA, perhaps. Is there a lesson for all of us to learn to tide over crisis? Ask Gerry and she would add, "I want to live to 150". The novel coronavirus took just six days to register its fastest million and jump from 9 million to 10 million officially recorded global cases. The virus is gathering more speed as it wreaks havoc. It has so far killed almost half a million people and has entered a new phase, with India and Brazil battling outbreaks of over 15,000 cases a day. As we battle it, let us not forget Gerry, even for a moment.

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