Helen Mulrennan Young is 89 years young and the Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon did not want the milestone to go unnoticed.
Every year is a milestone to an octogenarian and especially so to Young herself, who noted exactly why in an interview after she was surprised by her fellow Kiwanians at their breakfast meeting Feb. 23.
“When I was nine years old my appendix ruptured and I wasn’t supposed to live,” said Young, a graduate of the Brandon School, back when it was on the campus that today houses McLane Middle School. “I was in the hospital for one month and out of school for three months.”
The initial prognosis was dire.
“The doctor told my mother and father to prepare for my death because there was no way I could survive,” Young said. “That was back in 1932, when they didn’t have all the antibiotics and different medicines that they have today, so a ruptured appendix was like a death sentence.”
Young recalled another health scare that in her mind’s eye could have prevented the celebration that took place at in Brandon, where the Kiwanis club, one of the town’s oldest civic and service organizations, meets weekly for breakfast on Thursdays.
“Twenty years ago I went through four cancer surgeries in three- and a-half months,” Young said, “and I came through all of that.”
Young comes from a large family, the namesake of the middle school in Valrico, that sits on Mulrennan Road, and she is the last surviving sibling. Earlier last month she was one of the featured guests at the , in "a conversation with Brandon's pioneering families."
So, why does Young figure that her time on earth has been so blessed, in both the bounty of friends and moments and the collection of years?
“God left me here so that I can live my life to be a light for Him and show his love and bring his love into the life of others,” she said. “That is the way I feel.”
She told her fellow Kiwanians just that after the meeting started with a surprise birthday greeting and cake.
“That’s why I stay involved like I do,” Young added. “God let me come through all of this because he wants me to do what I’m doing to bring sunshine into other people’s lives.”