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

Single lane traffic for Bella Vista in Vernon next week

Work planned for Monday, Wednesday to complete utility installation

Lake Country traffic bottleneck solution still lacks funding

No money committed yet but province will unveil solution options for Highway 97- Beaver Lake Road-Glenmore Road intersection this fall

COVID-19: Vernon Towne Cinema back in action!

Movie lovers rejoice, the historic theatre has reopened with safety protocols in place

Former Vernon Viper recognized for ALS fundraising

Coldstream’s Aaron Volpatti raised more than $27,000 competing in an Ironman triathlon last summer

Vernon shutterbugs capture rainbow

A rain event July 9 made way for a glorious sight

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Summerland Blossom Youth Ambassador Program to hold coronation

Event will be held by video as a result of COVID-19 precautions

Pooch abandoned at Penticton doggy daycare suffered from oral disease

A fundraiser for Okie held by the BC SPCA surpassed its goal of $1,700

Couple shaken up after homophobic encounter at Kelowna mall

‘We’re not in the States; we’re not in some little hick town; we’re in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. And it still happens’

Summerland to allow in-person attendance at July 13 council meetings

Two meetings will be held at Summerland Arena Banquet Room to accommodate public

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

Most Read