103-year-old Steamboat Springs woman survives COVID-19
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When Lucile Ransom was told she tested positive for COVID-19, she wasn’t very worried, despite being 103 years old.
While people older than 85 face the greatest risk for a severe COVID-19 case, Ransom had already survived breast cancer at age 80, recovered from two broken hips and remembered the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic from her childhood. For her, COVID-19 was simply another challenge to conquer, said her daughter Sheryl Henningfield.
“She didn’t really want to admit that she had COVID,” Henningfield said. “It was just one more thing she was going to get through.”
Ransom lives at Casey’s Pond, a Steamboat Springs senior living community and assisted living facility, which has seen numerous outbreaks and deaths since COVID-19 hit Routt County in March. Henningfield felt it was “only a matter of time” before Ransom contracted the virus, despite Casey’s Pond’s efforts to keep its residents safe.
When Ransom developed a cough and muscle aches, two COVID-19 symptoms, Henningfield said she knew there was a good chance her mother would not survive the virus.
“It just makes you think a little bit about how she’s 103,” Henningfield said. “It makes you wonder if she really will make it through this.”
Just as Ransom expected, her symptoms never worsened past a cough and muscle aches, and after the isolation period ended, she felt completely normal and continued her day-to-day life, doing puzzles and visiting with her daughter.
“That’s really impressive,” said Katie Keller, social services coordinator at Casey’s Pond. “This vulnerable population also has strengths, and their bodies can withstand getting sick.”
Throughout her life, Ransom has treated hardships as difficulties that can be overcome, Henningfield said. Ransom’s son passed away when he was 9, before Henningfield was born, and from the moment she was born, Henningfield remembers her mother as a resilient woman.
“She knows her grandchildren and great-grandchildren are expecting her to be around,” Henningfield said.
Ransom was baptized into the Lutheran church as a baby, and Henningfield said family and faith have been guiding principles throughout her life.
“The value of family was always very important to her,” Henningfield said.
Before moving into assisted living facilities, Ransom spent her time gardening, sewing and dancing with her late husband. Ransom never attended college, as it was rare for women from her generation, but she helped operate a restaurant her husband owned, worked on the family farm and eventually bought a bowling alley with her husband.
“She liked to be around her family and enjoy her house,” Henningfield said.
While older people are significantly more likely to face severe symptoms from COVID-19, Keller said Casey’s Pond has seen many older residents survive, even when “odds were stacked against them.”
“Even though they’re vulnerable medically, they’re very strong emotionally, and they’re active parts of our community on a greater scale,” Keller said.
But other residents have died from COVID-19, Keller said.
“Those that Casey’s Pond lost were a valued part of the community, and they will be missed because they each contribute to the community,” she said. “As a community, they’ve lost their neighbors and their friends.”
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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