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Leap Year babies celebrate birthday today

Residents celebrate rare birthday

Posted: February 29, 2012 - 1:06am  |  Updated: February 29, 2012 - 3:12am
Jared Stanford, of Evans, is turning 16 today. He has celebrated only four actual birthdays.  Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Jared Stanford, of Evans, is turning 16 today. He has celebrated only four actual birthdays.

Twitter @ValerieRowell

Jared Stanford of Evans celebrates his fourth birthday today. And he plans to get his drivers license this summer.

The 16-year-old shares his Feb. 29 birthday with fewer than 1 percent of the world’s population.

“It’s kind of different,” the Evans High sophomore said of his rare birthday. “I guess it’s cool in a good way.”

Like Jared, all Leap Year babies are able to celebrate their actual birthday every four years.

For Danielle Phillips, having a rare birthday is fun, but also caused some trouble.

The Grovetown resident said some government entities, especially those with old computer software systems such as the Social Security Administration, don’t recognize Feb. 29 as a birthday.

“Actually, my birthday certificate says March 1, but by law, they couldn’t do it because they didn’t know how to handle it,” Phillips said, adding her real birthday had to be handwritten over the March 1 date.

Though she’s turning 32 today, Phillips said she still looks forward to actually having a day to celebrate and enjoy the attention. She usually celebrates on Feb. 28.

“The older you get, it gets kind of depressing because you can’t even say to people, ‘Today is my birthday,’” Phillips said. “Everybody else gets a day, but I don’t.

“Now, I joke with people. I take the whole month. I say it is my birthday every day to make me feel better.”

Phillips has a sense of humor about her rare birthday and takes jokes and comments in stride, but she said there aren’t many perks. Occasionally, she tries to use her “actual” age to order from children’s menus at restaurants. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

But because she has a day to call her birthday this year and won’t have another until 2016, Phillips said she’s taking advantage of it.

“This year, I am taking the day off,” Phillips said. “I’m going swimming with friends and then we are going roller-skating to kind of recapture our youth that way. It is going to be good this year because I actually have one (birthday) and it is going to be on a day I can actually celebrate it and say, ‘It is my birthday.’”

Columbia County sheriff’s office Staff Sgt. Jennifer Douglas also is celebrating her birthday today. She’s 52 years old, but celebrating her 13th birthday. All her life, people always argued over whether she should celebrate her Feb. 29 birthday on Feb. 28 or March 1.

“I’ve always just settled it (with) ‘I’ll just celebrate on both days,’” Douglas joked.

As she’s gotten older, Douglas said she’s not so bothered about not celebrating on her actual birthday. She does it on the nearest weekend. Douglas does have one thing she wished came along with such a rare Leap Year birthday.

“What would be great is if you didn’t have to age, either,” Douglas said. “Just every four years, you’d be a year older.”

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