When 103-year-old Jennie Stejna won against COVID-19, the nursing home staff at Life Care Center of Wilbraham helped the grandma celebrate with her favorite beverage – an ice-cold Bud Light.
The Massachusetts woman is the first resident in the facility to contract the virus and the first one there to beat it. Her health battle started with a low-grade fever, and the staff transferred her to a separate COVID-19 unit as she recovered. After 20 days, she finally tested negative.
Jennie’s family remained hopeful during the first few days, but when she started losing her appetite, they began “bracing for the worst.” They called her to say their final goodbyes, and when her granddaughter’s husband, Adam Gunn, asked her if she was ready to go, she replied, “Hell yes,” according to a report from Wicked Local Easton.
Her grandson David Stejna, 49, also called to say goodbye and told her he loved her.
But as it turns out, this grandma was a champion. On May 8, the facility informed the family that their matriarch was symptom-free and had bounced back from COVID-19.
That day, she woke up annoyed at the number of nursing home staff in her room and said, “I’m not sick. Get the hell out of here,” David recounted.
Jennie, nicknamed by her family as “The Matriarch” for her exacting demeanor, marked the occasion with an ice-cold beer. It was fitting for the Polish-American grandma, who hails from near Springfield in western Massachusetts. For 54 years, she worked in the area’s mills and lived there with her husband, Teddy, until he passed away in 1992.
Her grandchildren recalled memories of her hosting summer cookouts. Jennie would take the kids out for ice cream, and she would stop at a liquor store to get some beer.
“She would say, ‘You gotta have a cold beer when it’s hot out during the summertime,'” David said. “Later in the day she would say, ‘I think I’m gonna split a beer.’ She would never say, ‘I am going to have one.’ She’d sip about two and would do it sort of on the down low.”
So when her family received Jennie’s official corona clearance, they were excited to celebrate. A nursing home staff picked up a six-pack and handed the survivor a well-deserved drink.
David says it isn’t a surprise that Jennie was able to beat the odds.
“She’s feisty and tenacious. She is legendary in so many different ways. She speaks her mind and doesn’t put up with anything,” he told the New York Post.
Jennie, who uses a wheelchair and is legally blind, is a big Red Sox fan. She had a very sharp mind, and sort of “didn’t accept what was going on.” When she was sick, she often complained that she couldn’t listen to her favorite team’s games on her transistor radio.
She’s a mother to two children and has three grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren. Jennie was once an avid bingo player and labored into her 80s. But as tough as she was, she would often ask David why she was still alive. The latter only had one answer.
“Not to get all existential, but I would tell her that ‘God has a purpose for you and he’s not done with you yet.’ As she pulled through this, I think we might have found her purpose. And that is to give people a glimmer of hope. There’s a perception that this disease is a scarlet mark, and if you get it, it’s over,” he said.
It looks like Bud light has found its newest endorser!
Here’s another grandmother who loved beer just as much as Jennie did. Amid the quarantine, 93-year-old Olive Veronesi of Seminole, Pennsylvania, was worried about one thing: her dwindling supply of beer.
The nonagenarian never goes a day without enjoying one can of beer before bedtime. She alerted her family that she was running out of beer the safest way possible. She wrote the words “I need more beer!!” on a small whiteboard and held the sign up at her window. Olive also held up a can of Coors Light on her right hand to make sure they get the right brand!
Other centenarians who beat the coronavirus include 101-year-old New Yorker Angelina Friedman. This incredible woman also overcame miscarriages, cancer, internal bleeding, sepsis, and miscarriages throughout her amazing life.
Rudolph Heider, a 107-year-old grandfather from Chesterfield, Missouri, lived through the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression, the Second World War, and also defeated COVID-19 after battling it for weeks.
What an inspiration these fighters are! Watch video below and share this story to shed some light amid these troubling times.