A resilient 105-year-old woman thinks there’s one special homemade remedy that helped her beat the coronavirus: gin-soaked raisins.
Lucia DeClerk, the oldest resident of her South Jersey nursing home, found out she had contracted COVID-19 on her 105th birthday in January. She is one of 62 residents to have contracted the virus, four of whom died, and got the positive test after receiving her second dose of the vaccine.
“We were very concerned,” her son Phillip Laws told the New York Timesabout receiving the news. “But she’s got a tenacity that is unbelievable. And she’s got that rosary—all the time.”’
DeClerk credits her old age to prayer and healthy eating, but told the Times her specific tradition of eating gin-soaked raisins each morning helped her in the battle against COVID. After being diagnosed, she was quarantined and showed a few symptoms, but returned to her room within two weeks.
“Fill a jar,” she explained. “Nine raisins a day after it sits for nine days.”
Gin-soaked raisins are just one of DeClerk’s rituals, which also include drinking aloe juice and brushing her teeth with baking soda.
“We would just think, ‘Grandma, what are you doing? You’re crazy,’” her 53-year-old granddaughter Shawn Laws O’Neil said. “Now the laugh is on us. She has beaten everything that’s come her way.”
This isn’t the 105-year-old’s first pandemic, either. After being born in Hawaii in 1916, DeClerk survived the Spanish flu, multiple wars, as well as the death of three husbands and one of her sons.
“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.”
DeClerk is one of the oldest people to have beaten the virus. Her large family of kids, grandkids, and great grandkids is now bestowing a new title on their Grandma Lucia: “The 105-year-old badass who kicked COVID.”