100-year-old woman gets birthday wish

Niece Sheila Minzett-Henry, daughter Hazeldeen Solomon and Winston Moore of Cayman Medical Supplies take 100-year-old Rena Alexander outdoors in her new wheelchair. - Photo: Jewel Levy

A birthday wish by a 100-year-old bedridden woman came true this week when she headed outdoors in a new wheelchair.

Out in the fresh air, Rena Alexander sat taking it all in – the roar of passing cars, the chatter of voices around her, the gentle breeze that rustled the treetops, even a dog barking gave her pleasure.

“I had to get out of the house today,” she said to her niece and caregiver Sheila Minzett-Henry. “Where we going? I’m ready,” she added.

Ms. Alexander celebrated her 100th birthday on Wednesday, Feb. 1. The eldest of seven children born in Sandy Bay, Nicaragua, to parents Alvert and Amanda Solomon, Ms. Alexander grew up on Manse Road in Bodden Town. The long-retired seamstress and housekeeper now lives at the top of Northward Road in Bodden Town with her daughter Hazeldeen, 79.

“I look good because I am in the sun,” Ms. Alexander declared with that witty and pleasant personality that makes her so well-liked by everyone.

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On Wednesday, “Aunt Rena,” as she is fondly known by members of the Bodden Town community, was surprised with the wheelchair from Cayman Medical Supplies’ Donald McLean, and with a drive out to Savannah Foster’s Food Fair to see her friend Winston Miller, the store’s assistant manager.

Ms. Minzett-Henry, who took Ms. Alexander on her outing, said she was able to fulfill her aunt’s wish after placing her name on a clinic list when her aunt’s wheelchair broke, and following a Cayman Compass article about her aunt Rena and her birthday wish for a wheelchair.

“She’s got a fantastic sense of humour,” said Winston Moore, the representative from Cayman Medical Supplies who delivered the wheelchair.

“We are excited to be able to do this for the elderly, especially for Ms. Rena so that she will be able to get out of the house and do what she likes most, being outdoors and seeing people,” he said.

“Mama, tell the nice gentleman you love him and many thanks for the wheelchair,” said Ms. Alexander’s daughter Hazeldeen Solomon.

“I love you and thank you very much,” Ms. Alexander told Mr. Moore.

“Now lets go,” she added.

“We took her as far as the Dr. Tomlinson/Poindexter roundabout, and then to Foster’s Food Fair Savannah to see Mr. Miller,” said Ms. Minzett-Henry after the trip.

“We parked in the handicap space, and the other caregiver Tracy Johnson went in to look for Mr. Miller, but the supervisor came out and said she was so sorry, but Mr. Miller was not working today, so we took her back home.”

On the day of her birthday, Ms. Alexander said she just wanted to go “a-straight town and a-straight back,” but returning home on Wednesday, her only question was: “Unna carrying me home already?”

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