A 95-year-old had to cancel her birthday party because of the coronavirus, so her family sang to her while social distancing
  • Kathleen Byrne, who has 7 sons, 22 grandchildren, and 29 great-grandchildren, turned 95 on Wednesday.
  • But she had to cancel her upcoming birthday party because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Even though she's self-isolating, Byrne's family wanted to wish her a happy birthday, so they sang to her from her front yard on Wednesday.
  • "We just love her so much and we're so glad everyone else is finding a little bit of happiness in this tough time," Sara Byrne, one of Byrne's grandchildren, told Insider.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Kathleen Byrne has many names: Katie to her friends, Mom to her seven sons, Gran to her 22 grandchildren, and Mimi to her 29 great-grandchildren.

The Syracuse, New York, native turned 95 this week, and she's showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. 

"She's positive, and she's really healthy," Sara Byrne, one of Kathleen's granddaughters, told Insider. "She's totally with it."

Kathleen is currently self-isolating because of the coronavirus

Kathleen Byrne has a large family.
Sara Byrne

Although she's healthy, Kathleen's age puts her at risk of serious complications if she were to be diagnosed with the coronavirus.

"We've kind of been watching it pretty closely," Sara said of the family's response to COVID-19. "She does still live at home, so she's not at a nursing home or anything. But I'd say definitely like a week ago we really restricted where she goes."

"My uncle brings her anything she needs, but other than that no one's really been going to her house," Sara said. "But we still call her, and she loves her iPad."

Kathleen keeps up with her relatives via FaceTime and email, but she was looking forward to seeing everyone in person for her birthday.

The family originally planned to throw her a birthday party to celebrate her 95th on Saturday, with family coming to Syracuse from out of town, but they realized they would have to cancel the event because of the coronavirus.

One of Kathleen's grandchildren got the idea to sing her "Happy Birthday" from a safe distance

Her grandchildren have a group text, and as they discussed the party cancellation, someone brought up the idea of singing to her from her yard, so as to celebrate Kathleen without putting her at risk.

On Wednesday, the local family members gathered to make signs and head to Kathleen's home.

Kathleen Byrne's grandchildren got the idea to sing to her.
Sara Byrne

"We had about 20 of us there, " Sara said. "Three of her sons were there, and a handful of grandchildren and a handful of great-grandchildren."

"We just wanted to let her know how special she is to us," Sara told Insider of her family's reasoning for doing the song.

"She comes to everything for us. All through high school, she was at every sports game and every school event."

"We just wanted to show up for her on her birthday since she's always been there for us," she added.

A video of the birthday tribute attracted positive attention on Instagram

Sara posted a video of her family singing to Kathleen, and it quickly gained attention online.

The video had over 24,400 views at the time of writing.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive, with people saying they wish Kathleen was their grandmother and lamenting that her family isn't able to be with her right now.

"People are saying, 'It's so sad you can't hug her and stuff.' And it is sad, but we're just so thankful that she's still here with us," Sara said.

"We can't hug her, but we can still call her and talk to her. We're just so thankful at 95 that she's still with us and we've had her for so long."

The Byrne family is just grateful Kathleen is still with them today.
Sara Byrne

"It's definitely a different birthday, but it's one we'll obviously always remember," Sara said.

"We always said if we were to ever get famous it would be because of Grandma Byrne," she added.

"We just love her so much and we're so glad everyone else is finding a little bit of happiness in this tough time."

You can follow Sara Byrne on Instagram here.

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