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Local News

Social media helps grant Joliet woman’s 100th birthday wish

Sunny Hill Nursing Home resident Diane Brozman knew what she wanted for her 100th birthday – 100 birthday cards.

In a plea to its followers, Sunny Hill took to social media last month asking for a favor to make Brozman’s desire a reality. Her wish was granted, as thousands of loving cards poured in to the skilled care facility.

Thursday at Sunny Hill Nursing Home marked Brozman’s 100th birthday. The lifelong Joliet resident was joined by many friends, family and community members. After making its pitch on social media, Sunny Hill collected more than 2,600 birthday cards from 37 states.

Brozman said getting the birthday cards was a surprise.

“How did they know I wanted it?” she asked.

Sunny Hill Nursing Home staff wanted the day to be full of surprises. Between special gifts from the Joliet Police Department to a private lunch with family, Brozman’s birthday was shaping up to be a day to remember.

“I never expected this,” she said.
“I was told we’d have a party, but I didn’t know it’d be like this. It’s a good memory.”

Brozman said her favorite part was the music. From the pop favorites of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” to the Croatian hit of Ivica Serfezi’s “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” Brozman sat enjoying the live covers of Chicago Heights’ Frank Rossi on the accordion. Those at Sunny Hill Nursing home clapped, waved their hands in the air and danced along to the music.

St. Mary Nativity School teacher Julie Lewis and her third-grade class, who made cards, dropped in to visit Brozman. 

Lewis said that after she saw Sunny Hill Nursing Home’s social media post, she thought it would be a great idea for her class to bring their birthday cards to Brozman. Brozman, a former student and parishioner of St. Mary Nativity, listed her faith as key to living to be 100 years old.

Brozman’s grandson, Joe Martin, traveled from Madison, Wisconsin, to Joliet with his wife, Megan, and their kids, Ellie and Jack, to help his grandmother celebrate.

“Whenever we visited, she’d have cookies,” he said. “She would make it homemade. She is the sweetest woman I’ve ever met.”

Kathleen Schubert, a life engagement partner for Sunny Hill Nursing Home, said she’s known Brozman for years.

“She makes cookbooks with recipes for those on staff,” she said. “She gave me one many years ago.”

Schubert said it was wonderful seeing Brozman’s birthday celebration come together.

“This is amazing for her,” she said. “She loves this. She’d say, ‘I didn’t need anything,’ but this makes her feel special.”

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