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I'm 92 and high risk for coronavirus — but I'm flying to my grandson's wedding anyway

A Florida grandmother who's lived through epidemics like SARS and polio explains why she's risking her health to witness her grandson's milestone moment.
Marge Glassman, 92, with her grandson, Zach, and his fiancée, who will marry on March 14 in New York.
Marge Glassman, 92, with her grandson, Zach, and his fiancée, who will marry on March 14 in New York.Lexi Rudolph
/ Source: TODAY Contributor

Marge Glassman retired to Florida nearly 30 years ago, but her children and grandchildren remain in the northern part of the country. On March 14, Glassman's youngest grandchild will get married in New York, and the 92-year-old says despite warnings that she is at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus, she will fly from her Delray Beach home to the wedding.

Here, Glassman shares with TODAY contributor Terri Peters why she's willing to risk getting sick to attend the family event.

I am a very lucky lady because I have five terrific grandchildren. My youngest grandchild, Zach, is the last one to get married and will do so on March 14.

Although I'm in a high-risk age group for the coronavirus, I am not missing my grandson's wedding.

Glassman, left, with Zach at his college graduation in 2009.Lexi Rudolph

Some members of my family are very concerned about my decision to travel, of course. I've heard it all — "Are you sure you want to come?" and, "We all want you here, but we understand if you don't want to make the trip" and, "Maybe you shouldn't go" — but I'm determined to be there. I am going.

Zach is excited about the wedding but feels terrible about this crisis. I talked to him on the phone this week and told him I couldn't not go. I've seen each of my grandchildren go to their proms, graduate high school and college, and exchange vows with the ones they love. I will not miss this special young man's wedding.

Maybe I'm being optimistic, but I don't think this one germ is going to find me. I've survived lots of other ones.

I think everybody is a little bit nutty about the coronavirus, but I shouldn't say that because people are frightened and I understand that. But as part of one of the first groups of people officials said shouldn't travel — the elderly — I have been here before.

I'll be 93 in April, and I've gone through a lot of these health scares. I remember Ebola, SARS and the rest of them. I remember when influenza was more serious and can even recall people getting — and being afraid of getting — polio.

Glassman with her husband, Max, who died five years ago, at their granddaughter Lexi's wedding in 2010.L.D. Bright Photography

At the beauty parlor this week, my friends didn't express worry about the possibility of me getting the coronavirus.

"Have a nice trip, Marge," they said. "We'll see you next week when you come back." At our age, we have learned to take these things in stride.

While I understand the situation will likely get worse in the U.S. before it gets better and know I fall into the group of the most vulnerable, right now, I feel physically healthy. And I can go. So I'm going because my grandson's wedding is important. I've been looking forward to it.

And if this virus does come knocking at my door, well, I'm 92. If I go, I'm going to go out in a world of glory.

And so, I'll board the airplane with my hand sanitizer and whatever those wipes are that they say to use to clean the seats. I'll hope there's no one else in my row, and if there is, I'll ask to move to a row with less people. Maybe I'm being optimistic, but I don't think this one germ is going to find me. I've survived lots of other ones.

Glassman at her 90th birthday party with her two daughters.Lexi Rudolph

For others thinking about traveling, I can't tell anybody else what to do. You just have to use your own common sense. To each their own, as they say.

As for me, I have a beautiful dress to wear to my grandson's wedding this weekend, so I can't let it go by the wayside. I'm ready to trot.

Editor's note: Glassman's granddaughter Lexi Rudolph is the vice president of booking for NBC News.

Marge Glassman contributed.