A resilient retiree who survived two world wars and three flu pandemics celebrated her 106th birthday by beating Covid-19 for the second time.
Mary Nicholson, who lives at the Elizabeth Court Care Home in St Helen’s, Merseyside, tested positive for Covid-19 on New Year’s Eve, but said she felt ‘healthier than ever’ after catching the virus in time for her birthday on Tuesday overcome.
She revealed that her long life is the result of drinking whole milk, cream and butter, as well as a ‘tipple whiskey at night.
Maria said it was a “wonderful feeling” not to be isolated and see so many cards and presents waiting for her.
Mary Nicholson (pictured) who lives at the Elizabeth Court Care Home in St Helen’s, Merseyside, recovered twice from Covid-19
The 106-year-old has lived through two world wars and two pandemics. Pictured: Mary as a baby
The nursing home staff sang a birthday song to Mary, better known by her nickname Polly, and handed her a cake in honor of her birthday.
Mary, who has never married or had children, was unable to see her family due to the covid restrictions, but said she was looking forward to celebrating with them when ‘all this Covid is over’.
CAN YOU CATCH COVID-19 TWICE?
Early on in the pandemic, scientists were baffled as to whether or not you could catch Covid-19 twice. Now the evidence is more compelling, after a string of reports of re-infections around the world.
In some diseases, such as chicken pox, the immune system can remember exactly how to destroy it and fight it off if it ever tries to enter the body again.
Tests have shown that many people recovering from Covid-19 have antibodies – which can cause future immunity – but it’s not known if there are enough of them.
However, antibodies are just one type of substance that can produce immunity. The immune system is a huge web of proteins that have various functions to protect the body from infection.
Others, including white blood cells called T cells and B cells, can also help the body fight disease, but are more difficult to detect with currently available tests.
There is some evidence that antibodies disappear within just eight weeks of infection with the coronavirus, scientifically called SARS-Cov-2.
On the other hand, T cells – which target and destroy cells already infected with the virus – are “durable.”
A promising study in monkeys found that they were unable to catch Covid-19 a second time after they recovered from it, leading scientists to believe that the same could be true for humans.
The rhesus monkeys were deliberately reinfected by scientists in China to test how their bodies reacted.
Because the coronavirus has only been known to scientists for nine months, there hasn’t been enough time to investigate whether people develop long-term immunity.
“It’s a big birthday – 106,” she said.
‘I’ve been fantastic and I’m happy and enjoying it. Previously I had a cough, but I feel better.
‘I can’t tell you how much fun my birthday was. Great feeling to find cards and gifts given to me.
“It’s nice to be able to celebrate after being in isolation because of the virus.
‘I feel good after Covid and nothing can stop me. I will get back to normal ASAP.
‘I can’t wait to see my family again, I love them very much and they mean everything to me.
“I wish they could be here with me today. But I can’t wait to see them when all this Covid is done. ‘
The centenarian who was born in England revealed that her family is originally from Scotland. Her father, Murdoch Nicholson, was born in Glasgow in 1897, but he moved to Liverpool for work.
Born on January 12, 1915, during World War I, Mary experienced both world wars and the flu pandemics of 1918, 1957 and 1968.
The former canteen chef led a difficult life after losing her mother when she was five and her father five years later.
Her father had registered as a medical doctor, was gassed and died shortly after returning to Britain.
Mary’s cousin Jean Humphreys, 68, from Warrington, Cheshire, describes her as ‘fiercely independent, but also funny and loving’.
Jean said, “They didn’t have an easy life. She lost her mom and dad so young and went through the wars. But she persevered and worked hard and she inspires me every day.
She lived in her house until she was 102. She lived alone, she was fiercely independent.
Mary (pictured) who has never married or had children, revealed she looks forward to celebrating her birthday with family after the pandemic
Mary’s niece Jean Humphreys, said she has not had an easy life after her mother and father died at a young age
She went shopping a few doors down for the old lady. And she was younger than Polly, she was about 100.
She always said she was an old woman who needed help.
“She had to grow up because of the circumstances, and she took care of my mother.”
The retired support worker added: “She was diagnosed with Covid on New Year’s Eve. It was so scary to hear that at her age.
“It’s the best birthday present we could have asked for, that she’s fit.
‘She looks great, you couldn’t say she was ever sick.
Jean revealed that Mary lived in her own home until she was 102 and would go shopping for her 100-year-old neighbor. Pictured: Mary with her family
She has all her presents. When everything changes, we’ll have a late party in the summer. ‘
Mary was also wished a Happy Birthday by Susanna Reid and Ben Shephard on ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
Her caregiver Jane revealed that they were concerned about her health during her second battle with the coronavirus.
Her first bout of covid she was really bad and we thought we were going to lose her. She has now been through another fight and you can see for yourself that she is amazing.
Mary (pictured) appeared on Good Morning Britain alongside her caretaker Jane, adding that the secret to longevity requires you to always be alert
‘She’s just a fighter and I think her family will agree that she was all her life’
She joked with Mary and added, “What’s your secret to being 106?”
“Be alert all the time,” Mary replied.
Jane laughed: ‘No men and good food is not your secret is it’