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Roanoke woman who’s been through two pandemics turns 105 years old

Euna Cassell celebrates a milestone and gives us the secret to her longevity

ROANOKE, Va. – It was a tearful moment Friday afternoon outside Friendship Health and Rehab Center South for 105-year-old Euna Cassell, who celebrated a birthday unlike any other.

To celebrate this milestone COVID-19 style, her family from all over the country surprised her with a drive-thru birthday parade.

As her family drove by, Cassell reached out and waved at her loved ones holding “Happy Birthday Nana" signs.

Cassell’s daughter, Frankie Martin, came all the way from Lakeland, Florida to be with her mother one more time.

“I haven’t seen mother for a year because of the pandemic,” Martin said.

Though Martin still can’t hold her mother, she used today to show how much she cares.

“It goes and comes," she said. "I am just thrilled to see her out here enjoy all of this but it breaks my heart that I can’t touch her or hug her or anything.”

Cassell was just three years old when the influenza pandemic engulfed the world in 1918, and now she’s going through another.

“Mother is the only surviving member on her side of the family," Martin said.

With four children, 12 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren, Cassell says the secret to aging well and seeing them grow is being health conscious and keeping a calm attitude.

“105 is great," said Joe Hoff, the president and ceo of the rehabilitation center. "And it seems like more and more Americans are living to 100. So I think our chances to making to a 100 are pretty good, so we might see more of these.”


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