Abbotsford’s Jeannette and Marilyn Johnston are celebrating their 14th and 15th leap-year birthday’s together. Patrick Penner / Abbotsford News.

VIDEO: B.C. leap-year siblings ‘leapies’ celebrate 14th, 15th, birthdays together

Marilyn and Jeannette Johnston have never missed sharing Feb. 29 together for 56 years

Marilyn and Jeannette Johnston may be the most senior teenage siblings you’ll ever meet.

Today, Feb. 29, the two Abbotsford sisters celebrate their leap-year birthdays together. One might assume they’re twin sisters at a glance, but both were miraculously born on February’s extra day – four years apart.

“I have seriously met people who have never ever met anybody born on a leap-year day. When I tell them my sister and I were both born [on Feb. 29] and we’re not twins, they say, ‘What! That’s crazy!’” Marilyn said. “We can’t read each others minds, but we are very, very close.”

Marilyn, 15 (60), and her sister Jeannette, 14 (56), say they have never missed sharing the day together once in their lifetimes.

“Our whole leap-year birthday’s have always been really fun,” Marilyn said. “We absolutely love it, we feel like we’re super blessed.

“People go, ‘When do you celebrate your birthdays? March 1?’ And I’m like, ‘No! We’re February babies!’ I totally love being a February baby!”

They almost missed sharing the birthday once because Marilyn was working eight years ago, but Jeannette was able to take advantage of a WestJet deal exclusive to leap-year babies. Because WestJet’s birthday is also on Feb. 29, they were offering free flights to anyone born on that day.

“It would have been the first [birthday] that we would have missed… Unbeknownst to her, I jumped on a plane and I went to Prince George,” Jeannette said. “Her friends were having a party at a restaurant, I was at a different table and she didn’t know I was there.”

“This lady at this table was making this ruckus! So weird,” Marilyn said. “I kind of looked over and it was my sister!”

It’s not the first time the shared day has allowed the pair to get up to sisterly shenanigans. The two apparently looked very similar growing up, allowing Jeannette to sneak into bars with her sister’s ID.

Another time, a surprise cruise-ship vacation was being planned for Marilyn’s birthday, but her driver’s licence was expiring. So Jeannette went and renewed the ID with her picture on it so Marilyn wouldn’t know about the trip.

“They can’t arrest us now… [But] for five years I had a picture of my sister on my driver’s licence,” Marilyn said. “Even my mom… was like, ‘Oh that’s a really nice picture of you!’ I’m like, ‘Mom. Look at the picture again.’”

Marilyn’s favorite leap-year story is from she was four-years old and her mom was giving birth to Jeannette.

“My own mother never showed up to my very first leap-year B-day! With that lame excuse that she was in the hospital having a baby” she said. “I got a little sister for my first birthday!”

Today’s birthday is particularly important for the sisters as Jeannette has been battling cancer. Five out of the family’s six siblings travelled to celebrate the day together.

“We lost our mom six months ago, and two years before that my dad got sick with cancer, we just lost our step mom too. So it’s like… oh man, we’ve had some really hard times,” Marilyn said. “We have a lot of people praying for us.”

Jeannette said she has good days and bad days, but today is one of her good days.

“This birthday is particularly special because I don’t know if I’ll be around for the next one,” she said. “I’m not afraid to die, I don’t want to die, but I know I’m going [to heaven].”

RELATED: Couples take the leap into marriage with leap day weddings this weekend

BirthsFamilies

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Northern Health ready for COVID-19 surge

Health authority confident with inventory of ventilators

How to cope with your mental health during a global pandemic

Becca Shears, clinical counsellor in Vanderhoof speaks about ways to deal with stress and anxiety during this time.

MP for Cariboo-Prince George writes a letter to residents amidst COVID-19

‘Partisan politics have no place in a pandemic,’ writes MP Todd Doherty

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Sinclar Group curtailing all sawmill operations temporarily

Nechako Lumber, Apollo Forest Products and Lakeland Mills to be curtailed for three weeks starting April 5.

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Most Read