Raisin her game: NJ woman, 105, who beat COVID-19 credits gin-soaked fruit -- and prayer

LITTLE EGG HARBOR, N.J. — A New Jersey woman not only has beaten COVID-19, she has also survived two cardiologists and three husbands.

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What is Lucia DeClerck’s secret? The 105-year-old, who lives at Mystic Meadows Rehab & Nursing Center in Little Egg Harbor, does not hesitate.

“Prayer. Prayer. Prayer,” DeClerck told The New York Times. “One step at a time. No junk food.”

However, surviving her second pandemic could also be attributed to the nine gin-soaked golden raisins she has eaten daily for most of her life, the newspaper reported.

“Fill a jar,” DeClerck told the Times. “Nine raisins a day after it sits for nine days.”

DeClerck celebrated her 105th birthday on Jan. 25, the same day she was diagnosed with COVID-19, KYW-TV reported.

“She’s just been open with everything in life and I think that has really helped her because she hasn’t hesitated to do whatever she’s wanted to do,” DeClerck’s son, Henty Laws III, told the television station.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy surprised the centenarian with a personal phone call Monday morning, KYW reported.

The raisin recipe may seem quirky, but it difficult to argue with DeClerck’s longevity. Some of her other habits include drinking aloe juice -- straight up from the container -- and brushing her teeth with baking soda. The baking soda worked wonders: DeClerck’s relatives said she did not have a cavity until she was 99, the Times reported.

“We would just think, ‘Grandma, what are you doing? You’re crazy,’” DeClerck’s 53-year-old granddaughter, Shawn Laws O’Neil, of Los Angeles, told the newspaper. “Now the laugh is on us. She has beaten everything that’s come her way.”

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