Angelina Friedman is a “superhuman” centenarian. After escaping the 1918 Spanish Flu and overcoming miscarriages, cancer, internal bleeding, sepsis, and miscarriages throughout her incredible life, the 101-year-old woman just defeated COVID-19.
Angelina Sciales (now Friedman) was born in 1918 during the second wave of the Spanish Flu. It’s not believed that the newborn contracted the virus. Her mother died while giving birth to her aboard a passenger ship transporting immigrants from Italy to New York City. Her two sisters, who were also on board, took care of her. The three reunited with their father in Brooklyn where Angelina was raised.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 1918 pandemic lasted until 1919 and affected around 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population. About 50 million people died from it, with an estimated 675,000 occurring in the United States.
One of 11 children, Angelina has outlived all of her siblings and her husband, Harold. Because she’s overcome so many tough challenges in her life, her family is calling her a “superhuman”.
“She and my dad had cancer at the same time. She survived. He didn’t,” Joanne Merola, Angelina’s daughter, said.
“Everybody in the family lived until at least 95, except one uncle. My mother is a survivor. She is not human. She has superhuman DNA,” she added.
Angelina is now a resident of North Westchester Restorative Therapy and Nursing Center in Lake Mohegan, New York.
On March 21, she was taken to the hospital for a minor procedure, but she tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Angelina spent a week in the hospital before returning to the nursing home where she was isolated. For several weeks, she’s had on and off fevers but never had respiratory symptoms. Then, on April 20, they received the good news that Angelina finally tested negative for the virus.
On April 24, the nursing home shared a photo of Friedman holding a piece of paper that said, “I am 101 years old and I beat COVID-19”. The resilient patient was smiling from ear to ear in the photo as if nothing ever happened to her.
“Lets hear it for Angelina our 101 year old resident who beat COVID-19 & is doing great!!!!!” the home wrote in the caption.
Amy Elba, an administrator at the facility, spoke to CNN about Angelina’s amazing story of survival.
“It also just goes to show how much the world needs hope that you can beat this at 101,” she said.
Though she doesn’t live far from the facility, Joanne hasn’t been able to visit her mom since February due to a back injury. Angelina is nearly deaf, so they can’t talk on the phone either. But the nurses called her to say that her mother is doing great. She’s eating again and looking for yarn to crochet with.
“She is a mover and a shaker,” Amy said. “She’s a big knitter and she makes all kinds of things and gives them away to visitors.”
Angelina, who has lived in the home for two years, has been able to get outside to enjoy the fresh air since her recovery.
The centenarian is quite the superstar at the nursing home. For her 101st birthday, the staff threw her a big party, and last year, she was crowned prom queen during a spring event.
“She’s super active. You couldn’t believe it for her age,” Amy said. “Still doing her leisure activities probably that she’s done forever.”
Joanne is hoping that a nursing home employee would show her mother that she made the news because of her inspiring longevity.
“If my mother could see this, I’d say, ‘Keep going, Ma! You’re going to outlive us all.'” she said.
The state of New York remains to be the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. As of May 4, 321,833 positive cases and 24,576 deaths have been reported, according to The New York Times.
Watch the video below to be inspired by Angelina’s words of wisdom!