William “Bill” Lapschies celebrated his 104th birthday and his victory over the novel coronavirus on Wednesday.
Lapschies’ birthday was extra special this year, though the party may have been a little different than past bashes. “We celebrated his 101 and had over 200 people. So trying to keep our social distancing and do what Governor Brown has asked us to do,” his daughter, Carolee Brown, said. “But we’re so thrilled he’s recovered from this and we just had to do something for him.”
The Lebanon, Oregon, man grew “very, very sick” after being diagnosed with the novel coronavirus — officially classified “COVID-19” by the World Health Organization — on March 5. The dedicated staff of the Edward C. Allworth Veterans’ Home offered him constant care, suited up in gloves, gowns, masks and plastic face shields.
As of this week, a Veterans Affairs spokeperson declared that Lapschies “has met the guidelines by the CDC and Oregon Health Authority to be considered recovered from COVID-19,”
“It seemed like he just made this wonderful recovery,” Brown said. “We were like shocked that he was kind of sitting in his wheelchair waving at us through the window and we were like, ‘He’s gonna make it!’”
“Bill’s pretty resilient,” son-in-law Jim Brown said. The 104-year-old World War II veteran survived Nazis, the Spanish flu, and more than one recession in his century of life, and is still going strong. His family hopes his victory can encourage others to do the same. “We hope that this will inspire some of the other people that are going through this,” Brown said. “And we’re really excited and looking forward to 105.”
So, how does it feel? “Pretty good. I made it,” Lapschies said, before adding he was “good for a few more.”