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

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

Questions around rail safety, firefighter safety, cleanup near the rail yards and tracks, whistle cessation, etc were raised during the RDBN meeting with CN. (File photo)
‘Lot of our concerns are still not being heard,’ say RDBN directors on CN’s response

Frustrated over lack of solutions, despite communicating their concerns to CN

Barbara Patrick. (Submitted/Lakes District News)
Former Burns Lake local to play the first Indigenous character in a Hallmark movie

Barbara Patrick, a former LDSS student takes a huge step for the Indigenous community

The Burns Lake RCMP is supportive of having a ticketing bylaw in place even though there would be limitations on what they could ticket on. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Burns Lake might be getting a ticketing bylaw

Will help extend RCMP’s authority to attend to noise complaints

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Kevin Bieksa during his days playing with the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo: commons.wikimedia.org)
Bieksa to guest on free Canucks Alumni ‘Hot Stove’ on Zoom app

Former NHL player has become a game analyst on Sportsnet

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

More than 60 cm of snow has fallen at Ulkatcho First Nation near Anahim Lake in the Chilcotin since a snowfall warning went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26. (Graham West photo)
VIDEO: More than 60 cm of snowfall in Chilcotin since Thursday, Nov. 26

Graham West of Ulkatcho First Nation captures the scene on video

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Most Read