Bermuda Post

Monday, Apr 12, 2021

Great-great gran, 105, says she beat Covid by eating 'gin-soaked raisins'

Great-great gran, 105, says she beat Covid by eating 'gin-soaked raisins'

An 105-year-old nursing home resident says she managed to overcome Covid-19 by eating nine gin-soaked raisins per day and ‘no junk food’.

Lucia DeClerck tested positive for coronavirus on her birthday, just one day after her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Early data is showing the jab is 80-90% effective after the first shot and 95.8% after the second, meaning there was still a small window for her to catch the bug.

Despite being considered high risk due to her age, Lucia didn’t show any serious symptoms.

After two weeks of isolation she was back in her room, clutching her rosary beads and wearing her signature knitted hat and sunglasses.

Studies have shown that one shot of the Pfizer vaccine is 62% effective at preventing severe disease, with that number rising to 92% after two doses.

But Lucia, who lives at Mystic Meadows nursing home in Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, has credited her long and healthy life to ‘prayer, prayer, prayer’ and ‘no junk food’.

Another one of her secrets of survival is the nine gin soaked raisins she eats every single morning.

The great-great grandmother of 11 tested positive for Covid-19 on her 105th birthday


She told the New York Times: ‘Fill a jar. Nine raisins a day after it sits for nine days.’

Her children and grandchildren describe her as a ‘health freak’ with a few other lifelong habits, including drinking a homemade concoction of aloe vera juice, apple cider vinegar, ginger, and ‘a little bit of gin’ every day.

Lucia claims she’s managed to keep all of her original teeth by brushing them with baking soda every day, and in fairness to her, she only had her first cavity at 99 years old.

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.

‘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 was a ‘little scared’ about going into isolation but insisted ‘God will protect me’


Lucia was born in Maui, Hawaii, in 1916 to a Guatemalan mother and Spanish father.

She was just two years old when the Spanish Flu outbreak hit, meaning she has lived through two pandemics, two world wars and the deaths of three husbands and a son.

After her 90th birthday Lucia moved into an adult community in Manahawkin, along the Jersey Shore.

She remained incredibly active there until she suffered a fall on Christmas Day 2017 and moved to Mystic Meadows, where she is the oldest resident.

Lucia has survived lived through two world wars, two pandemics and the deaths of three husbands


Lucia is one of the nursing home’s 62 residents to contract Covid-19 – four of whom died including three who were receiving hospice care.

Mystic Meadows administrator Michael Neiman said Lucia – a devout Catholic – was a ‘little scared’ when she first had her diagnosis but insisted that ‘God will protect me’.

Now her two surviving sons, five grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and 11 great-great grandchildren have nicknamed her ‘The 105-year-old badass who kicked Covid.’

Lucia’s family say they are postponing her 105th birthday celebrations until the pandemic is over.

But in the meantime they are ‘rushing out and getting mason jars’ to fill with gin-soaked raisins to ‘catch-up’ with the health-conscious centenarian.

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