Anna Kastan was born into a different world. On March 21, 1918, Israel and Turkey were not yet sovereign states; life expectancy, in large part due to a flu pandemic and World War I, was just 36.6 years for men and 42.2 years for women; and the first talking picture would not debut for another nine years.
Anna has seen astonishing changes over the past 100 years. The staff and her peers at Bloomberg Apartments celebrated this remarkable life with a party on Tuesday, March 27th.
“I Am Humbled By This Woman”
“When Anna was born, people probably said she would live to be 25 years old,” Monica Santos, AHRC NYC’s Director of Residential Services, said. Monica explained Anna’s journey from a time when there were essentially no services for people with disabilities to her days at the infamous Willowbrook State School to finally settling in a comfortable residential environment at Bloomberg Apartments.
“The reason Anna is still with us is because of all of the people who have touched her life—all of the direct support professionals and all of the nurses. It shows all of the hard work, loving, and caring that have gone into her life to have Anna be able to live to 100,” Monica said.
“It’s an amazing thing to have happen here at Bloomberg,” Danielle Eilenberg, Assistant Director for Region 5, said. “To see someone with developmental disabilities reach that landmark number is remarkable. It speaks to the amazing work the staff here does. And Anna is great and happy.”
Residents and attendees of the day habilitation program at Bloomberg wore formal attire with pink inflections to celebrate Anna’s birthday. Anna herself wore an elegant dress and shawl with pristine white gloves. A raucous cheer from all of the party guests went up as the lobby’s elevator doors opened and Anna took her seat at the head of the table.
Staff members and Anna’s friends took turns offering toasts, prayers, and congratulations to the centenarian.
“This is a blessing,” Jessica Moore, a Direct Support Professional who works closely with Anna, said. “Not a lot of people see this age. I am very humbled by this woman.”
“Anna, the things that I have seen you do and overcome are simply amazing,” Residence Manager, Brian Corbin said. “I hope there are many more to come.”