As January concluded, Della Hathorne had a lot to celebrate. She turned 103 over the weekend and as 2020 ended she can say she beat COVID-19 months ago. That allowed her to be present for a surprise birthday parade attended by friends and family members.
All parties involved didn’t quite know they’d be able to celebrate 103 years of Hathorne’s life. For those over 60, COVID-19 could be a lethal diagnosis. But that made this birthday all the more remarkable and deserving of revelry. They received the pleasant shock that Hathorne would live and Hathorne received a surprise birthday party.
Defying the odds and becoming a COVID-19 survivor
Exempting the very young, patients of older ages have a greater likelihood of dying after contracting the coronavirus. Multiple factors impact how a person responds to the virus, though. However, as a general rule of thumb, the CDC notes that those in their sixties or older are five times more likely to die compared to 18 to 24-year-olds. That multiplier increases with age.
So, when Della Hathorne contracted the coronavirus, her son Lorenzo “couldn’t believe it. Because all of the rules are you don’t make it through if you’re a certain age because it’s hard on them.” It did look grim at first. Last year, Hathorne had to spend two weeks at Mercy Hospital Logan County, located in Guthrie, Oklahoma. By mid-October, however, she was out and free of COVID-19.
Della Hathorne has much to celebrate – even beyond the pandemic
So many years on this world – ten decades! – means having a lot to celebrate even without surviving a crippling plague. People lists that Della Hathorne is the proud mother of seven, grandmother of 26, and great-grandmother of over a hundred. Fortunately, the champion has wise words to impart upon all those relatives – and to everyone facing these grim times: “Treat everybody right, treat everybody the same, and then try to eat good.”
For all her strength, the surprise birthday party over the weekend still inspired strong emotions from her. One family member described her as “very emotional,” adding, “She said, ‘I’m not going to cry. I’m not going to cry.’ And I said, ‘Well, that’s what you have sleeves on your jacket so you can wipe your tears with that.'” That’s exactly what Hathorne ended up doing. A survivor such as herself received a celebration of her life, the family member explained, after “She does everything for everybody else’s. It’s time to do something for her.”
Family and friends converged in a socially-distanced car parade, driving in front of the 103-year-old birthday girl holding signs and wishing her well. We certainly wish this COVID-19 survivor a great one too!