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Woman who survived 1918 flu, cancer recovers from COVID-19 at 102

Mildred "Gerri" Schappals has seen a lot. She's survived the 1918 flu pandemic, two bouts with cancer and now, COVID-19.

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At 102 years old, Mildred "Gerri" Schappals has seen a lot, surviving the 1918 flu pandemic, two bouts with cancer and now, COVID-19.

Schappals was only a baby when she caught the flu in 1918.

"She was only about 10 months old when she had it," said her daughter, Julia Schappals. "The doctor had given up on her and said that she would likely die. She had a high fever. They didn't even to bother to pin the diaper on her when they changed her, because she didn't move."

But she recovered. She went to college, got married, had two children and became a teacher in Nashua, New Hampshire. In her 60s and 70s, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and colon cancer.

"She had radiation therapy for the breast cancer and had surgery and chemotherapy for the colon cancer," her daughter said. "She survived them both."

Gerri Schappals is now at an assisted living facility in Nashua, where she came down with COVID-19. But even at 102, she beat that, too.

"I was surprised," her daughter said. "But then again, I was not surprised that she survived. That's how she's been her entire life, and when we asked her about it she kind of poo-pooed it. 'Yeah, I was sick for a couple days. It wasn't bad.'"

Gerri Schappals is camera shy, but her family and the staff at her care facility said she's fully recovered and is still as sweet and kind and independent as ever.

Her daughter, who said her mother wants to live to 150, said her mother's message is live each day to the fullest, and don't sweat the small stuff.