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Meet the 101-year-old born on a ship during the Spanish flu who has now beaten another pandemic

She has survived cancer, miscarriages, internal bleeding, sepsis, and two pandemics in her lifetime.

Meet the 101-year-old born on a ship during the Spanish flu who has now beaten another pandemic
Image Source: Facebook/North Westchester Restorative Therapy & Nursing Center

Angelina Friedman is a survivor in every sense of the word. She's lived through the Spanish flu, cancer, miscarriages, internal bleeding, sepsis, and now, at 101-years of age, yet another pandemic. A little over a century after her mother gave birth to her on a ship during the height of the 1918 flu pandemic, Friedman has now been tested by the novel Coronavirus and lived to tell the tale. With an unwavering cheery disposition throughout everything life threw at her these past 100 years, this centenarian has outlived her husband and all 10 of her siblings.


Friedman—a resident of the North Westchester Restorative Therapy and Nursing Center—tested positive for the novel Coronavirus when she was taken to the hospital on March 21 for a minor medical procedure. Following the diagnosis, she spent a week in the hospital, after which she returned to the nursing home and isolated in her room. Although she ran a fever on and off for several weeks, she finally tested negative for the virus on April 20. Speaking to CNN, an administrator at the Mohegan Lake, New York, nursing home revealed that even after battling another pandemic at this age, she is now back to her old self.


The administrator added that she is once again celebrating life as if nothing ever happened. "It also just goes to show how much the world needs hope that you can beat this at 101," said Amy Elba. Friedman's daughter, Joanne Merola, told CNN affiliate WPIX that her mother has been a survivor throughout her life. "My mom was born in 1918. She was born on a ship coming from Italy during the Spanish flu," Merola revealed. "Her mother died giving birth on the ship, and she was taken care of by her two sisters, who were also on board," she added. 


The ship was reportedly transporting immigrants from Italy to New York City in the midst of the 1918 pandemic and baby Angelina Sciales (now Friedman) is not believed to have contracted the disease. When the ship reached its destination, Friedman's sisters reunited with their father and were taken to Brooklyn where the siblings grew up. "She was one of 11 children. She’s the last one surviving," said Merola. "She and my dad had cancer at the same time. She survived. He didn't." According to Daily Mail, Friedman is now the last of her surviving siblings and is still going strong.


"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," said Merola. Friedman is said to be quite popular at the nursing home where she was thrown a party for her 101st birthday and crowned "prom queen" during a spring event last year. "She's super active. You couldn't believe it for her age," said Elba. "Still doing her leisure activities probably that she's done forever." Merola hasn't been able to visit her mother since February due to a back injury and was informed by staff after Friedman overcame the novel Coronavirus, that the centenarian was doing great, eating again, and looking for yarn to crochet with.


Unfortunately, since her mother is nearly deaf, she hasn't been able to speak to her on the phone either. She hopes an employee at the nursing home will inform her mother of the widespread interest in her fascinating life story. "If my mother could see this, I'd say, 'Keep going, Ma! You're going to outlive us all.'"


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