115-year-old immigrant gets wheelchair gift

One of Canada's oldest residents, who moved to Montreal from Haiti last year, says she has no plans of slowing down thanks to a new set of wheels she received for her 115th birthday.

Woman moved to Canada after surviving Haitian quake

Cicilia Laurent, centre, celebrates her belated 115th birthday with friends, family, community members and some politicians on Sunday in Montreal. (Photo courtesy of Susanna Lemmo)
One of Canada's oldest residents says she has no plans of slowing down thanks to a new set of wheels she received for her 115th birthday.

Community members in the Montreal area raised money to buy Cicilia Laurent a wheelchair, and surprised her with it at a belated birthday celebration in her honour on Sunday.

"I'm going to go everywhere in Canada with my wheelchair now," said Laurent, who turned 115 on Jan. 31, after receiving the wheelchair and taking a spin around a restaurant where the party was held.

Laurent, a lively, spirited woman, was born and raised in Haiti and came to Canada to join her son last year following the devastating earthquake. Her home was destroyed, and she arrived in Canada empty-handed.

Since her arrival, she has been stuck in the family home in Laval because it was too difficult to get around.

Marie Lorna Pierre said her spunky great-grandmother-in-law was frustrated with being housebound.

Ciclia Laurent was born on Jan. 31, 1896 in Croix des Missions, Haiti. She moved to Quebec after the 2010 earthquake. (Photo courtesy of Susanna Lemmo)
"She was staying at home because when we want to go far, we cannot go with her," said Pierre. "Every time she gets bored a little bit because she says, 'I want to go with you.'"

She said the family prayed for someone to help them pay for the wheelchair, and several community members and business owners who heard about their need pitched in.

Pierre said Laurent's body will now be able to keep up with her youthful heart and mind.

"She's laughing, and she's making jokes. We're laughing with her. We watch TV with her. She's sewing. She does a lot of stuff, and it's fun being with her," said Pierre.

Laurent said she has lived so long because she eats well, prays and loves everyone around her.

Woman believed to be among world's oldest

Laurent was born on Jan. 31, 1896, in Croix des Missions, Haiti. Some estimates put her among the oldest people living on the planet.

She turned 115 on Jan. 31, and became a permanent resident of Canada the same week.

Her family appears to have inherited her longevity genes.

One of her daughters, who still lives in Haiti, is 96 years old.