Beloved Children’s Hospital Volunteer Celebrates 100th Birthday With a Hot-Air Balloon Ride

Marian's birthday celebration took place at Northridge Hospital in California, where she's been volunteering for 25 years.

For Marian Hakanson‘s 100th birthday, she celebrated in style. With friends, co-workers, and, of course, cake. And what did she wish for before blowing out the candles? “Well, I don’t want to live another hundred years,” she joked. “I just wish that this pandemic would be over & we can get back to normal.”

The ceremony took place at Northridge Hospital in California. Marian’s been volunteering and lending a hand there for 25 years. She spent the last 25 years before that volunteering at a children’s hospital, which means she’s given freely to others for literally half her life.

And although she’s seen a lot of heartaches while volunteering in hospitals for the last fifty years, it's all been worth it. “When you work in the gift shop, and you help people easy, you can bring a little bit of cheer into their life when so many things are going on in their lives,” Marian explains. “It was good to be able to talk to them and just give them a moment or two of relief, maybe the heartache that they were going through. I truly enjoyed that part of my being here.”

Back in her prime, Marian was no slouch. She piloted lightweight planes in the 30s and 40s, and she skied into her 70s. “Well, let's say I've done a lot of things that I wanted to. I have enjoyed my life,” she says. “There are things I'm sorry I have had to give up, like skiing. I thoroughly enjoyed skiing. And of course, I don't think you see many people 100 on the slopes. But the last thing I did was when I was 70, and that was free. I didn't have to pay. It was great.”

And Marian isn’t slowing down any time soon. She plans on celebrating her birthday with a hot-air balloon ride. But before she does, she gives the key to making it to 100. “Secret? Haha! No, just… behave yourself and enjoy.  I really have enjoyed my life here.”

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