The Centenarian Philanthropist Who Logs on to Save Lives: All 105-year-old Edythe Kirchmaier wanted for her birthday was to tell the world about her favorite charity: Direct Relief International. After volunteering for the worldwide philanthropic organization that delivers medical assistance to victims of disaster for over 40 years, Kirchmaier turned to social media used social media to make her birthday wish come true. Her wish: to get 105,000 people to “Like” the Direct Relief Facebook page. Less than two months after her birthday Kirchmaier’s wish came true. Learn more about her incredible initiative: Facebook’s Oldest User Turns 105
Thanks to Kirchmaier’s initiative, Direct Relief now has over 122,000 Facebook fans.
The Gymnast Whose Career Started at 57: When she was forced to choose between gymnastics and having a family, Johanna Quass chose child-rearing. Her love for the sport would eventually bring her back to the mat—nearly four decades after most gymnasts reach their peak. At 57-years old, Quass began flipping around on the parallel bars and hasn’t stopped since. Guinness gave her the title of World’s Oldest Gymnast last year when she turned 86. Watch her amazing performance start at 0.41 seconds.
The Grandmother Who Spins Club-Rocking Mixes: Part-challenge, part-manifesto, the statement, “I’d rather sign a contract with a record company than sign up for a nursing home,” is proudly emblazoned across the front page of Ruth Flowers’ (aka. DJ “Mamy Rock”) website. She may be nearly twice the age of her internationally-renowned counterpart, Deadmau5, but you can still find the 73-year-old manning the turntables in nightclubs across Europe. In 2006, Flowers was invited to her grandson’s birthday party, which was being held at a local club. Due to her age, the bouncers initially wouldn’t let her enter, but they eventually relented. Being exposed to the thumping bass and pounding dance beats made Flowers instantly feel decades younger—a feeling she now is able to impart on others.
The 100-Year-Old Marathon Man: As a child, Fauja Singh was forced to give up his passion for running to support his family by becoming a farmer. Some seventy years later, Singh returned to running to cope with the death of his son and wife. Since then, Singh has run nine marathons and countless other smaller races. He was recently named the World’s Oldest Marathoner by Guinness World Records, after completing the 2011 Toronto Marathon at the fabulous age of 100. Though he is now retired from competitive running, Singh continues to find pleasure and purpose in pounding the pavement. Read more about Singh’s incredible journey: Oldest Marathoner Turned to Running to Cope with Grief
The Great-Grandmother Whose Voice Inspired a Nation: At the wonderful age of 80, singer Janey Cutler made the 2010 finals of the television talent competition, “Britain’s Got Talent.” After bringing the crowd (and the judges) to their feet several times with her incredible musical performances, she made it to the show’s final round. Cutler ended up coming in second to “Spellbound” (a gymnastics group) though she did go on to record an album and go on tour. She passed away in 2011, but her stirring rendition of “Je Ne Regrette Rien” (No Regrets) serves as a poignant reminder of what can happen when you approach life with no regrets. Learn more about the healing power of music.