Lucia DeClerck, a 105-year-old Ocean County, New Jersey woman, has survived everything the 20th Century could throw its way and is now undefeated against the 21st Century as well. She tested positive for the coronavirus last month and has already beaten it. DeClerck, who was 2-years-old during the 1918 flu epidemic, said she has no secret to her longevity, but the "gin-soaked raisins" have helped.
"I'm very fortunate," DeClerk, who lives at Mystic Meadows Rehab and Nursing Center in Little Egg Harbor, told WPVI about her coronavirus battle. She was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Jan. 25, her 105th birthday, and quickly recovered. She said he never experienced any symptoms and is now "feeling wonderful." The real feat for her was just making it to 105.
Lucia DeClerck, the oldest resident of a New Jersey nursing home, beat the coronavirus after she tested positive on her 105th birthday.
Her tips for living a long and healthy life? Prayer, avoiding junk food and eating nine gin-soaked raisins each morning.https://t.co/e427XvSogT— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 23, 2021
"I don't have a secret," DeClerck said. "All I do is pray, pray, pray. And I don't each junk food!" DeClerck outlived "three cardiologists and three husbands," her daughter-in-law, Lille J. Laws, said. "She's just an amazing person and she's just made of steel, I guess." That steel is helped by her Catholic faith and those gin-soaked raisins. She credits her unique creation with keeping her "free of disease," Laws said. DeClerck has never faced cancer and still has her own teeth.
The gin-soaked raisins are part of a morning ritual, her family told The New York Times. Each morning, she eats nine raisins covered in gin. "Fill a jar," DeClerck told the Times. "Nine raisins a day after it sits for nine days." Her children and grandchildren said she also drank aloe juice straight from a container and brushes her teeth with baking soda. "We would just think, ‘Grandma, what are you doing? You’re crazy,’" granddaughter Shawn Laws O'Neil told the Times. "Now the laugh is on us. She has beaten everything that’s come her way.”
DeClerck was born in Hawaii in 1916 to parents from Spain and Guatemala. She has lived in Wyoming, California, and Hawaii during her adulthood. She moved to New Jersey to live with her eldest son. After celebrating her 90th birthday, she moved to an adult community in Manahawkin, New Jersey, She moved to the rehab center after she was hurt in a fall four years ago. “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.”
DeClerck tested positive for the coronavirus the day after she received the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Michael Neiman, her nursing home's administrator, said she did show some symptoms, but she was back in her room within two weeks. On Monday, she spoke with New Jersey Gov. Philip Murphy, who mentioned the call during a recent news briefing. "What an uplifting conversation," Murphy said.