'Just don't give up,' LTC resident celebrates 100th birthday after battling COVID-19

At this time last year, Claire Pratt had just celebrated her 99th birthday; but a few months later she was in for the fight of her life after testing positive for COVID-19.

A resident at Mackenzie Place Long-term Care in Newmarket, Pratt was confident she could beat it.

"I didn't really believe (I had) it; I thought I could fight this," said Pratt.

Despite her positivity, Pratt had a long battle with the virus, spending a month isolated in her room at the long-term care home.

Mackenzie Place struggled to contain the virus, seeing nearly all of its residents become infected. While the home is out of outbreak, Pratt, once again, is an active member of the community.

Registered Nurse Alfonso Sarmiento calls Pratt a fighter, "and she takes everyday full on and is so positive," he says.

"She's doing so well, participating in programs, talking to her family, and she's still a big part of Mackenzie Place."

Pratt hopes to pass on some encouragement to help others get through this pandemic and life's tough times.

"Don't give up, just don't give up, and think positive thoughts," she says.

On Wednesday, Pratt couldn't wipe the smile off her face as friends and family helped her celebrate her milestone, 100th birthday.

"With COVID, we were scared," says son Gerry Pratt. "We were hoping for the best, but it's tough, and she beat it."

Her former daughter-in-law, Barbara Stittle, says, "We were all convinced that was it, and to have her here still today, it's just wonderful."

When asked what the secret was for reached the 100-year-milestone, she didn't have an answer but says just, "tell them to just put one foot in front of the other."