‘We’re just ecstatic:’ Milwaukee woman who ‘whooped the mess out of coronavirus’ celebrates 89th birthday

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MILWAUKEE -- Opal Neal's family said she "whooped the mess out of coronavirus." Her battles wasn't easy, making her 89th birthday on Tuesday extra special.

A sweet serenade, loved ones lifted their voices for Opal who listened from the window of her living facility.

"Today, we wanted to come together. Today is my grandmother's 89th birthday," Melesha Spears, Opal's granddaughter, said.

The birthday visit was overwhelming and the milestone didn't come easy. Opal recently recovered from a frightening fight against the coronavirus -- hospitalized for weeks, even spending time on a ventilator.

Delores Neal

"We've been through a lot," said Audrey Neal, Opal's daughter. "I'm telling you, it was hard times, hurting times to even think about losing our queen."

When Opal was released from the hospital last week, family was there to celebrate her victory. Her daughter admired her battle.

"She whooped the mess out of coronavirus, y'all, yes she did," said Delores Neal.

Those words were printed on her shirt Tuesday, April 28.

Opal Neal wears "I whooped the mess out of coronavirus" shirt on 89th birthday

Opal, a mother of 14, is gaining strength.

Melesha Spears

"She's gradually taking steps to get out of rehab," Spears said. "We're just ecstatic. We're glad she's pulling through. We're happy for her."

The Neal family said the musical birthday celebration was about counting another year and another blessing.

"I just want to say to all of you. Live a good, clean life," said Opal.

Opal's granddaughter wrote a birthday song for her Tuesday morning. The family was able to learn it and sing it to her by the afternoon.

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