A rare winter storm that dumped a foot of snow on Seattle couldn’t keep a 90-year-old woman from her first appointment for the coronavirus vaccine.
Fran Goldman walked six miles round trip to get her shot, as first reported by the The Seattle Times, and she shared her incredible story with TODAY on Wednesday.
The Seattle resident had been surfing the web and making calls for days, then she finally got an appointment for last Sunday. So when the snow came and Seattle residents were instructed to stay off the roads, she had to find a new way to get to her appointment.
"I thought, 'What's the alternative?'" she said. "So I decided I would walk."
The strong winter storm turned the city's normally rainy streets into a winter scene of snowdrifts, but Goldman was determined to make it to her appointment at Seattle Children's Hospital, which was three miles away.
Just to stay safe, the 90-year-old did a test walk on the day before her appointment to assess the road conditions.
"I went out and walked about two-thirds of the way, just to make sure that I could do it, and decided it was very doable and came home," she said.
More snow and ice arrived on Sunday, but Goldman was even more determined. She dressed in fleece pants and a short-sleeved shirt so that the nurse could get to her arm easily. Over that, she layered a fleece zip-up, then a down coat, then a rain jacket. She then put on snow boots, took out her walking sticks and ventured onto the snowy streets.
"It wasn't easy. It wasn't the way I would've chosen to go," she said. "I have walking sticks and I use them. And I was glad I had them. And I went rather slowly. It took me longer than it would normally."
The brave 90-year-old made it to her appointment, and was only five minutes late. As with all COVID-19 vaccine recipients, Goldman had to wait 15 minutes before leaving to make sure there was no reaction.
"And the person said, you'll have to wait until such-and-such a time. I said, 'I'll be delighted to sit and wait. I've just been walking for an hour.' And she said, 'Oh, sit as long as you want," she said.
Her daughter Ruth Goldman, who lives in Buffalo, New York, wasn't surprised by her mother's actions.
“We’re outside people,” she told The Seattle Times. “We love being outside. I was out yesterday at Lake Ontario with a wind chill of 6 degrees."
The trip home was a bit more difficult for Goldman since it had warmed up a bit and it was a little more slippery outside, but she persevered.
"I did take it easy and go more slowly," she said.
The 90-year-old had a hip replacement last year, and she feels grateful that she was able to walk the six miles to her appointment.
"I don't think I could have done that walk before I had the hip replacement," she said. "I think it's a wonderful hip — I love it."
Now that she's had her first shot, Goldman is feeling a bit more optimistic about the future.
"For me, personally, I will be able to spend more time with my family, be closer with my family. I'll be able to pick up my great grandson and hold him. I have seen him a few times, but I have not been able to give them a hug. And that — that is just very sad to me," she said.
When her second vaccine appointment rolls around in a few weeks, Goldman plans to drive, weather permitting. And she's feeling a boost of positive energy just thinking about it.
"Hope is around the corner," she said.