"She was very emotional," one family member said

By Claudia Harmata
January 31, 2021 12:45 PM
Advertisement

An Oklahoma woman celebrated her 103rd birthday on Saturday, just a few months after beating COVID-19.

Over the weekend, friends and family surprised Della Hathorne with a sweet, socially-distanced, birthday parade to celebrate the milestone, KOCO 5 reported.

"I didn't know that they were gonna do all of that," the centenarian told the news outlet.

One family member said Hathorne was "very emotional" throughout the parade.

Della Hathorne, 103 year old COVID survivor
Credit: KOCO 5 News

"She said, 'I'm not going to cry. I'm not going to cry.' And I said, 'Well, that's what you have sleeves on your jacket so you can wipe your tears with that,' " the family member told KOCO. "So that's what she did."

"She does everything for everybody else's. It's time to do something for her," they added.

Hathorne — a mother of seven, grandmother to 26 and great-grandmother to more than 100 — battled the coronavirus last year. She spent almost two weeks at Mercy Hospital Logan County in Guthrie, and successfully fought off the virus in mid-October, KOCO reported at the time.

Want to get the biggest stories from PEOPLE every weekday? Subscribe to our new podcast, PEOPLE Every Day, to get the essential celebrity, entertainment and human interest news stories Monday through Friday. Get a taste of the podcast below.

"Can't believe it. Because all of the rules are you don't make it through if you're a certain age because it's hard on them," her son, Lorenzo, told the outlet when she was released from the hospital.

Looking back on her experience battling COVID-19, Hathorne shared some advice on how to live life with no regrets. "Treat everybody right, treat everybody the same, and then try to eat good," she said.