Jennie Stejna fought coronavirus for nearly 20 days, then celebrated her recovery in style

By Jason Duaine Hahn
May 28, 2020 08:35 PM
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Courtesy Adam Gunn

Jennie Stejna's family was prepared for the worst.

Three weeks ago, the 103-year-old's health quickly declined when she became the first resident of her Massachusetts nursing home to test positive for coronavirus, the family recalled to Wicked Local.

Because people ages 65 and older are at a higher risk of severe illness from the deadly disease, the family said what they thought would be their final goodbyes to her earlier this month. But then, against all odds, Stejna was officially cleared of the virus on May 13.

“We’re truly very thankful,” Stejna's granddaughter, Shelley Gunn, told the outlet.

“This feisty old Polish grandmother of ours officially beat the coronavirus,” added Shelley's husband, Adam Gunn.

To celebrate, the staff at her facility gave Stejna something she hadn't had in a long time — a bottle of cold Bud Light.

"She put it to her lips and said, 'Ooh, that's cold. It's good when it's cold,' " her grandson David Stegna told the New York Post.

Jennie Stejna
Courtesy Adam Gunn

Stejna, who is Polish-American and grew up in Western Massachusetts, has long been a fan of having a midday drink to cool off.

"She would say, ‘You gotta have a cold beer when it’s hot out during the summertime,' " David recalled to the Post. "Later in the day she would say, 'I think I’m gonna split a beer.' She would never say, 'I am going to have one.' She’d sip about two and would do it sort of on the down-low," he continued.

Jennie Stejna
Courtesy Adam Gunn

Stejna — who lost her husband of 52 years in 1992 — has built a legacy encompassing two children, three grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren. And after beating coronavirus, she has time to create even more memories with her family.

"Not to get all existential, but I would tell her that 'God has a purpose for you and he’s not done with you yet,' " David said of his grandmother's battle with coronavirus.

"As she pulled through this, I think we might have found her purpose," he continued. "And that is to give people a glimmer of hope. There’s a perception that this disease is a scarlet mark, and if you get it, it’s over."

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According to a New York Times database, Massachusetts has seen 94,895 cases and 6,640 deaths attributed to coronavirus as of Thursday night. The country as a whole has experienced 1.7 million cases and 101,502 deaths.

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