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

COVID-19: District of Kent announces property tax break

Second provincial late payment penalty delayed until October

‘Difficult but necessary’ – local parks, trails, rec sites closed amid pandemic

Several closures by province in area due to physical distancing concerns

Organ donation gives Fraser Valley RCMP officer a second chance at life

Cathleen Falebrinza celebrates Green Shirt Day after receiving a double lung transplant in 2016.

Stay off the tracks and stay alert, rail police warn

Last year, seven were killed and 10 seriously injured in rail crossing, trespassing incidents

Open houses discouraged as Chilliwack realtors look for a way forward

March saw strong sales but April likely to see lower numbers

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

BC institution has highest number of positive results for COVID-19

11 inmates in Mission test positive for coronavirus, more than any other federal prison in Canada

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

Most Read