Antoinette Carolina Ragazzino Bianchini has gone by many names over the years, but to Pleasantville, New York, locals, she's simply known as "Mima."
"That's what everyone calls her around here," Bianchini's granddaughter Jenn Sparano said. "She's kind of a celebrity in our community."
The mother of three, grandmother of five and great-grandmother of seven normally likes to bake cheesecakes for the local fire department and make Tic Tok videos with her grandkids. But for the past seven weeks, she's been quarantined at home with Sparano alone due to the coronavirus crisis.
"I thought I'd move in with her for a bit because she loves to sing, dance and be social," Sparano explained. "As you get older you lose sense of how important you are to people because so many loved ones pass away. I didn't want her to have to go through this quarantine alone."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines state older adults are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, and recommends that seniors "stay at home as much as possible."
Bianchini turned 98 years old last Thursday, so naturally Sparano wanted her grandma's day to feel special while social distancing. She began texting family, friends and neighbors, asking loved ones to make signs for a drive-by parade to celebrate their favorite matriarch's milestone.
The 20 cars lined up with banners, with drivers singing 'Happy Birthday' and honking.
Troopers from the local police department even stopped by with the fire chief, blaring patrol car sirens to honor Bianchini's big day.
"She just started to cry and goes, 'Everyone's making me feel so special, I haven't felt like this in so long," Sparano said. "Her entire face lit up and she was grinning ear-to-ear, waving at everyone that went by. It was great that she could see how many people around here care about her."
Sparano shared photos of the celebration in a Facebook post that has since received hundreds of likes and comments, all wishing "Mima" the best while quarantining.
Neighbors help 'Mima' celebrate 98th birthday with parade originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com