Social distancing birthday: Family celebrates NY woman's 95th birthday from her front yard

Family celebrates great-grandma's 95th birthday while social distancing

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Sara Byrne and her family were disappointed when coronavirus kept them from celebrating her "Gram's" 95th birthday. Dozens of family members had planned to come visit Kathleen Byrne in New York for a party.

But when the government started urging the practice of social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus, Sara and her family knew they couldn't be in close contact with Kathleen, who is at an elevated risk for infection because of her age.

So she and her cousins decided to plan a surprise from a distance. On Wednesday, all the family members who were in town gathered on Kathleen's front lawn. They held signs and balloons while serenading the great-grandmother of 29 and grandmother of 22 with "happy birthday."

Sara said her grandmother loved the surprise and was happy they could all still be together, even if it was without her.

"She's the nicest human being on the planet," Sara said.

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Sara hopes the video inspires others to find ways to stay in touch with their elderly relatives while still maintaining a safe distance.

"Always check on them, don't forget about anybody," she said.

Sara's video of the surprise has been viewed more than 30,000 times on Instagram, spreading some much-needed good news across the internet during an uncertain time.

"It's created so much happiness in a time that's been hard on everybody," she said.