It’s not everyday a birthday celebration makes national news, but 110-year-old Elizabeth Francis is making headlines for her long life in which she credits her faith in God for keeping her healthy, Fox News reported Wednesday.
“Blessing of the Lord. He’s the one keeping me. That’s why I’m living,” 110-year-old Francis told local television station ABC 13.
The Texas grandmother was born in Louisiana in 1909, but Francis currently resides in Houston, Texas, according to ABC 13.
Ethel Harrison, Francis’ granddaughter, told ABC 13 that Francis has seen six generations of her family grow, and has been a part of the lives of all of her grandchildren.
As ABC 13 notes, the life expectancy of a woman born in the year 1909 was just 54 years old.
And Francis is beating the odds by today’s standard too, as life expectancy in the United States continues to decline, per CNBC.
According to the CNBC report, a child born in the United States in the year 2017 is expected to live to be 78.6 years old, which is less than 78.7, the life expectancy predicted for babies born in the year 2016.
"Blessing of the Lord. He's the one keeping me. That's why I'm living," said 110-year-old Elizabeth Francis. https://t.co/QmDy0Q0Jlr
— ABC13 Houston (@abc13houston) July 28, 2019
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) linked the decrease, which is the first time life expectancy in the United States has fallen since World War I, to a rise in drug overdoses, an increase in liver disease and a rise in suicide rates, per CNBC.
Suicide rates alone have risen 33 percent since 1999 in the United States, per CNBC. At the same time, suicide rates have fallen by about the same amount in other countries across the world. As CNBC noted, there were 70,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017.
According to Fox News, Francis’ birthday marks the second notable birthday celebration of older women in Texas in recent memory. In June, Hattie Mae Allen, who lives in Temple, Texas, turned 105.
The Guinness Book of World Records says that the current oldest living person in the world is 116-year-old Kane Tanaka in Japan. Tanaka’s age was certified by Guinness in January of this year.
In 1909 when Francis was born, publishing company Condé Nast was founded, The Oval Office was constructed, New York City was for the first time referred to as “The Big Apple” and clothing brand Abercrombie & Fitch published its first catalogue, per Pop Culture Madness.
Last year, CNN reported that the oldest living person in the United States was 113-year-old Lessie Brown from Cleveland Heights, Ohio following the death of a 114-year-old woman from Pennsylvania.