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Family throws social distancing birthday bash for 81-year-old

There was no cake and no sitting around playing games or talking. This birthday party was held with all the guests outside and the birthday girl inside.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Gail Smith wore a tiara and waved a balloon. Her nails were a bright red and her jacket was Carolina blue. On most days she wouldn’t get all gussied up but Tuesday was her birthday.

“She is just a wonderful person and she loves everybody,” said her cousin Denise Jones.

Smith was born with cerebral palsy and has spent the past eight years at a nursing home in Greensboro. Her mom passed away in 2012, which is when Smith moved.

“Her mom lived to be 97,” Jones said.

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Smith is not quite there, but Tuesday she celebrated her 81st birthday with family and friends, sort of. Smith, who is dependent on a wheelchair, was brought into the sunroom area at the Blumenthal Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The birthday girl looked through the window as her family and friends showed up with signs and cards.

“We just wanted to make today special for her,” said her cousin Laura Smith.

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A group of about 10 people circled the building singing songs while waving and blowing kisses. Smith spent the time singing along and smiling.

“God granted her 81 years. She is a blessing to everyone, just a blessing,” Jones said.

They each took turns getting up close to the window so they could wave to Smith and tell her happy birthday. One person brought a giant happy birthday balloon while others brought cards and small gifts for staff to give her.

“We just hope to bring a bit of brightness to her day,” Laura Smith.

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While the family would have liked to sit and eat cake with Smith, they understood why they couldn’t and were very appreciative of the nursing home allowing them to come by for this special birthday party. In fact, administrators at the nursing home helped to organize the celebration.

“It’s not hard to please Gail. Things excite her and her birthday is very special to her,” said Brooke Mustian with Blumenthal.

The party lasted about 30 minutes and it appeared everyone, including Smith, left with a smile on their face. Happy Birthday Ms. Smith, from all of us at WFMY News 2.


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