105-Year-Old Who Beat COVID Says Gin-Soaked Raisins Helped Her Survive

by : Emily Brown on : 23 Feb 2021 16:47
105-Year-Old Who Beat COVID Says Gin-Soaked Raisins Helped Her SurviveCBS Philadelphia

A 105-year-old woman has credited gin-soaked raisins with helping her survive coronavirus after she tested positive one day after receiving her second vaccine shot.

Lucia DeClerck, the oldest resident at her nursing home in New Jersey, learned that she had contracted the virus on January 25 – which also happened to be her 105th birthday.


The elderly woman has lived through the Spanish flu, two world wars and the deaths of three husbands and a son, and when she tested positive for coronavirus she was initially scared.

Hear more about Lucia’s story below:

The 105-year-old, who is described as having a ‘sharp’ mind, did not like being isolated and missed the daily chatter she was used to with the caregivers at Mystic Meadows Rehabilitation and Nursing. Thankfully, Lucia showed few symptoms and within two weeks she was back in her room, holding her rosary beads.


Lucia discussed her long life in an interview with The New York Times, in which she said the secret to living to such an old age was ‘Prayer. Prayer. Prayer. One step at a time. No junk food.’

As for surviving the coronavirus, she believes it may have had something to do with the nine gin-soaked golden raisins she eats every morning, as she has done for most of her life.

She explained: ‘Fill a jar. Nine raisins a day after it sits for nine days.’


Lucia’s family is used to her unusual habits, which also include drinking aloe juice straight from the container and brushing her teeth with baking soda.

Her 53-year-old granddaughter, Shawn Laws O’Neil, said: 

We would just think, ‘Grandma, what are you doing? You’re crazy.’ Now the laugh is on us. She has beaten everything that’s come her way.

Now all of us are rushing out and getting Mason jars and yellow raisins and trying to catch up.

She is just the epitome of perseverance. Her mind is so sharp. She will remember things when I was a kid that I don’t even remember.


Lucia’s family, made up of her two surviving sons, five grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and 11 great-great grandchildren, have come up with a new moniker for the elderly woman after she survived coronavirus: ‘The 105-year-old badass who kicked COVID.’

One of her sons, Phillip Laws, said the family were initially ‘very concerned’ when they learned about the coronavirus outbreak, but he noted that Lucia has ‘got a tenacity that is unbelievable’.

Care home administrator Michael Neiman said Lucia is one of 62 residents at Mystic Meadows to have contracted the virus, as he explained that while the staff are as ‘careful as possible’, the virus has ‘a way of sneaking in.’

If you’ve been affected by coronavirus and want up to date advice, visit the Gov.uk help page here. If you need medical help call NHS 111 or visit online.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Health, Coronavirus, COVID-19, New Jersey


The New York Times and 1 other
  1. The New York Times

    This 105-Year-Old Beat Covid. She Credits Gin-Soaked Raisins.

  2. CBS 3

    105-Year-Old Lucia DeClerck Shares Secret To Longevity After Surviving 3 Husbands, 2 Pandemics