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108-Year-Old Woman Lived Through The Spanish Flu and Survived COVID-19

“I survived everything because I was determined to survive.”

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  • Sylvia Goldsholl, 108 years old, is one of the oldest survivors of the novel COVID-19.
  • Goldsholl, who lives in the Allendale Community for Senior Living in Allendale, New Jersey, lived through the deadly Spanish flu pandemic in 1918 and 1919. She also survived two world wars and the Great Depression.
  • Her family describes her as a feisty lady with a “survivor’s mentality”.

In April, Nancy Chazen received a call from her aunt’s nursing home in New Jersey and relayed the news that Sylvia Goldsholl, who just turned 108 last December 2019, had contracted the novel coronavirus.

Since older people are more vulnerable to the deadly disease, Chazen thought “that was going to be the end” for her 108-year-old aunt.

“This is killing people in nursing homes all over New Jersey and the country. Quite honestly, I thought that was going to be the end — I mean, she’s 108,” Chazen said.

Two weeks after Goldsholl was placed in self-isolation, the nursing home called Chazen again and told her the her aunt has fully-recovered from COVID-19.

Goldsholl has become one of the oldest COVID-19 survivors in the world, and even New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy couldn’t help but praise her.

A Russian immigrant and the eldest of four children, Goldsholl said she’s the “smartest one from the bunch”. She was born in December 29, 1911, grew up ispet most of her life in the Bronx and later moved to Allendale Community for Senior Living in Allendale, New Jersey 13 years ago

As a child, Goldsholl lived through the deadly Spanish Flu pandemic that killed millions of people worldwide in 1918 and 1919. She also survived two world wars and the Great Depression. She worked as a bookkeeper and never married nor had children.

“I survived everything because I was determined to survive,” Goldsholl said in an interview with News 12 New Jersey, describing the Spanish Flu, the two world wars and great depression as “small speed bumps”.

“I am a survivor…I’ve got to come out on the top of every list,” she said.

Her nephew Larry Goldsholl described her as the “Forrest Gump”, the main character in a famous Tom Hanks movie who witnessed significant moments in the 20th century. He was characterized as compassionate, optimistic and tenacious in the film.

On the other hand, Larry said his aunt is a spunky and feisty lady who is very assertive of her rights.

In the nursing home, Goldsholl is known as the “Big Sister” of all senior residents who is very outspoken on the rights and welfare of her fellow residents.

“She’s got the survivor’s mentality. Her family supported her through all this and , like she says, love helps you get through things,” Allendale center administrator Michael Brienza told The New York Times.

So far, New Jersey has 150,339 confirmed cases of coronavirus with 10,747 deaths. Reports stated that roughly half of the reported deaths have come from nursing homes and other senior care facilities.

Goldsholl’s case is the state’s silver lining despite how the pandemic greatly affected New Jersey.

“I don’t know her secret to longevity, but she’s very feisty,” Chazen said.

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