Over 100 years ago, Anna Del Priore had the Spanish flu as a child. Now, the 107-year-old has recovered from COVID-19, and she's gearing up for another big birthday next month.
When Del Priore contracted the coronavirus this summer, her granddaughter Darlene Jasmine was instantly concerned. "I thought this was going to be what would do her in," the 66-year-old told TODAY over email.
But the 107-year-old is a fighter, and she delighted her family and friends when she survived the virus in June.
"I was excited when she came out of it, but I mean, that’s her. She doesn’t let anything get her down. She went through the Spanish flu and got over that. She loves life and she probably had in her mind that this wasn’t the end," Jasmine said.
Del Priore lives in Middleton, New Jersey at Brighton Gardens, which is operated by Sunrise Senior Living. After an impressive recovery from the coronavirus, the senior said she's feeling much better. "I feel good, strong, healthy," she told TODAY.
Amazingly, Del Priore isn't the only member of her family to survive both the Spanish flu and COVID-19. Her younger sister Helen, 105, has also recovered from both viruses. And Del Priore, a former seamstress, has some advice for anyone hoping to live as long as she and her sister have: "Be good to others, keep good friends, be honest, love God — and I eat lots of hot peppers!"
As a child, Del Priore grew up in Brooklyn, New York with her two deaf parents and five siblings. When she married her late husband Frank Del Priore, a professional tango dancer, the couple found joy in dancing together.
"She and my grandfather tangoed and used to perform at different places in New York like Roseland, which was a big thing in the 30s and 40s, and Coney Island at the big dance hall," Jasmine said.
Del Priore still loves to dance and has always enjoyed cooking. Until she turned 100, she also used to walk over a mile each day to meet with friends for a cup of coffee at McDonald's.
"She doesn’t think about her age; she just enjoys every day. She loves to dance and loves music. When she hears the music, her foot starts tapping. She doesn’t sweat the small stuff. Life is there to be enjoyed," Jasmine said.
Laura Halle has worked as Del Priore's caretaker at Brighton Gardens for the past two years and said she's one of the strongest women she knows.
"She is a true inspiration to me and many others. She is extremely sweet, and has such compassion for others. She is always laughing and finds joy when she can make you laugh," she said.
Halle said she enjoys hearing Del Priore's stories about life in the early 1900s and feels honored to be a part of her journey. "Every single day Anna amazes me, she is not only a beautiful amazing woman, she is a survivor!" she said.