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Leap Day Babies Celebrate Quadrennial Birthdays

  • Deborah Block

Tammy Gerencser, right, is scheduled to have a C-section, Feb. 29 and her child will be a leap year baby.

Tammy Gerencser, right, is scheduled to have a C-section, Feb. 29 and her child will be a leap year baby.

This Wednesday is a very special day for some people around the world. They were born on February 29, Leap Day - the extra day in February that only comes around every four years. Our reporter spoke with some of them about what it’s like to be a leap day baby.

Most people usually hear Happy Birthday every year. But what’s it like when your actual birthday is on the calendar only once every four years? Chad Ritchey is turning 32 - he’s had eight real birthdays.

“Every four years I get to have one big birthday party. The other birthdays are just like another day,” Ritchey said.

Like most Leap Day babies, Peter Brouwer celebrates his other birthdays on February 28. He is the co-founder of “The Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies,” a website for people born on February 29.

“We’ve had about 10,000 people sign up. We have a kid’s page, a parent’s page, teacher’s page. We have people from all over the world. We’ve had people from Canada, the United Kingdom, Malawi, and Malaysia. We also have a lot from India and some from Pakistan," Brouwer said.

The group says about 5 million people celebrate Leap Day birthdays.

Among them is Alberta Stojkovic, who says it’s as much fun for her to be a Leap Day baby as it is for people who know her.

“They’ll say, ‘Oh yeah, you’re born on leap year. How old are you this year? Are you five or six?’ It’s fun for people,” she said.

And just how old will Stojkovic be this year?

“I say, ‘Well, it’s going to be my 16th birthday. You do the math,’” she said.

Stojkovic says it’s unusual to meet other “leapers”, as they are known. But it turns out, her small town in Ohio is home to at least two people born on Leap Day. Chad Ritchey manages a local electronics store.

“I’ve had some fun with it with my kids, and the 13 year old was amazed that, at one point, we were both the same age,” Ritchey said.

Ritchey recalls what happened when he tried to buy a beer for the first time. The legal age to buy alcohol in Ohio is 21.

“It was an off year and they let me get it on the 28th,” he said.

Peter Brouwer says having a birthday on February 29 can cause other problems.

“My life insurance policy. I have to say that I’m born on March 1st because their computer doesn’t accept February 29th. There’s also issues with drivers licenses. One year my license expired on February 29th but it wasn’t a Leap Year,” Brouwer said.

In the United States, Leap Day babies never forget a Presidential election year because it’s always on the year of their birthday. And Alberta Stojkovic says that being 16, instead of 64, has its advantages.

“I believe it may be even possible that having a Leap Year birthday keeps you a little bit younger,” Stojkovic said.

And if you know someone whose birthday is on Leap Day, remember to wish them a Happy Birthday…. because their next one won’t be until 2016.