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102-year-old New Hampshire woman beats Spanish Flu, cancer, and now COVID-19

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(WMUR) A 102-year-old New Hampshire woman can be described using one word,
Survivor. She beat the Spanish Flu in 1918, cancer, and now COVID-19.

Andy Hershberger has her incredible story.

At 102-years old, you’d think Mildred “Gerry” Schappals has seen a lot – but what she’s gone through and survived is quite remarkable.

She was only a baby she caught the Spanish Flu in 1918 – the first pandemic that swept through the United States.

“She was only about 10-months old when she had it. The doctor had given up on her said that she would likely die. High fever. They didn’t even to bother to pin the diaper on her when they changed her because she didn’t move.”

But she made it. Went to college – got married – had two children and became a teacher in Nashua.

Then in her 60’s and 70’s she was diagnosed with breast cancer and colon cancer.

“She had radiation treatment for the breast cancer and she had a surgery and a whole chemo regimen for colon cancer, and she survived them both.”

Gerry is now at an assisted living facility in Nashua where – fast forward to 2020 – she came down with COVID-19.

But even at 102 as you can probably guess – she beat that too.

“I was surprised. but then again, I was not surprised to learn that she survived it. Um, it’s, it’s, that’s how she’s been her entire life. and when we asked her about it, she kind of pooh-poohed it. yeah. i was sick for a couple of days. it wasn’t bad.”

Gerri is camera shy, but her family and the staff at her care facility say she’s fully recovered and is still as sweet and kind and independent as ever.

Her daughter said she wants to live to 150 – and I wouldn’t bet against it.

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