A Geelong woman who wasn’t expected to live beyond the age of three has celebrated her 100th birthday in coronavirus lockdown.
The key to keeping her brain active? Jigsaw puzzles.
Born in the Netherlands in 1920, Trudy Gyzen reached the impressive milestone on Thursday at Geelong’s Multicultural Aged Care Services (MACS) home.
She was given a cake, a letter from the Queen and her favourite activity to do – a puzzle.
Her daughter Rita Costa, 73, told The New Daily she was allowed a special visit to MACS while adhering to strict social distancing rules to help celebrate her mother’s centenary.
“She is the best, most loving lady you have ever come across,” Ms Costa said.
“She loves puzzles.
“During the war they had nothing, but my mother always had a meal on the table for whoever needed it.
“She’s been like that throughout her life, helping everyone she could.”
But for many years, it didn’t appear Ms Gyzen would enjoy a long life.
Born with a blood-related health condition, the prognosis was grim.
“As a child, I remember we had to go to the hospital all the time … I’ll never forget the smell of the needles,” Ms Costa said.
“Doctors didn’t think she’d make the age of three years old, and now she’s 100.”
Prior to his death five months ago, Ms Gyzen and her husband Marinus were inseparable.
“He was 98 and they were married for 77 years,” Ms Costa said.
“My sister and I had such good parents. We had the best childhood ever.
“I’m so sad my dad is not here to see mum’s birthday.”