A Leap Day Baby Production 1988-2019 by the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies 1997-2019. Proudly created with Wix.com

RAENELL: A BIO IN LEAP YEARS


In Leap Year 1988, I set up a birthday club called Leap Year Babies Limited, The Limited Edition to the Human Race. Although 21 members joined that year, the club grew with each successive Leap Year after I placed ads in newspapers and participated in radio and TV interviews celebrating Leap Year.

In 1997, Peter Brouwer, founder of the online club Leap Year Baby Honor Society, joined my club as its 75th member, and I joined his as its 38th member. We realized we could combine both clubs into a single great one, so that's when we formed the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies with a little over 100 members. We have now connected with over 11,000 Leap Day babies around the world. It's incredibly cool.

 

People in general, and some from the media, have asked me if doing this "little Internet birthday club," the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies, with Peter is therapeutic for me because I didn't get a birthday. Or, they wonder if we can feel each other’s pain over "not getting a birthday." They've even told me we probably feel better about ourselves after we find other Leap Day babies.

 

What they don’t understand is that we do get a birthday. It just happens that it's not on our exact birthdate three out of every four years. But, yes, it does feel good to find people who share being born on the same date as us. We have the most uncommon common birthday on or off the calendar!

 

These days, I jokingly tell people that I suffer from EBS: Empty Box Syndrome. Find out why I say this and more about me from my bio in Leap Years, below. Enjoy!

Leap Year Day 1960

Happy birth day to me, Raenell Dawn, "born in East L.A." on Leap Year Day. 

Leap Year Day 1964

1@4 - Aw, my 1st Leap Day birthday! I didn't know it yet, but my fourth year of life would mean I was only 1 in Leap Years!

Leap Year Day 1968

2@8 - My 2nd Leap Day birthday! The concept of birthdays became clear to my young self as my family celebrated the birthdays of two of my three younger sisters—who were also born in February—February 6 and February 25.

Every year, our mom put our names on the calendar in the box whose date matched the ones we were born on. So February 6 was marked"Debbie," the 25th had “Cindy,” and the 29th showed “Raenell”—except in the “off” years, those years that are not Leap Years when my name ended up in the empty box after the 28th.

At the time, I wondered:

Why isn't my birthday on the calendar?

How come my name is in an empty box?

Where's my number?

It took several confusing years before I could begin to make any sense of it all. Not only was my actual birthday not on the calendar, but if I was the oldest, why was my birthday last instead of first? But every year when I asked my parents about my birthday, the only answer they could give me was that I was special, but what did that mean? I didn’t feel particularly special. Instead, it seemed almost like my birthday was an afterthought.

 

Of course, matters weren’t helped when, after raising my hand and proudly answering my teacher’s question about knowing anyone born on February 29 (me!), she shook her head slowly and said, “Oh, you poor child.” And the teasing started the very next recess and went on for what seemed to me to be waaaaay. Too. Long.

There were kids who sang, "You don't get a birthday" in that sing-song style kids do so well. They said things like, "You can't play with us, you're a baby!" or "You're only 2, how could you know?!"

But once I understood more about Leap Day and Leap Years, I realized I truly was special, both because I was the oldest of my siblings and because I was born on February 29, a day that represents balance and harmony (see Celebrate the Spin). So, now I tell people that I suffer from EBS (Empty Box Syndrome) because my name still ends up in an empty box on the calendar at the end of February in years that are not Leap Years. And that's okay!

 

Leap Year Day 1972

3@12 - My 3rd Leap Day birthday! A fascination with space and astronomy answered some of my questions more clearly, like why I only had 3 birthdays when I’d been alive for 12 years.

In 1973 I turned 13 but my birth date wasn't on the calendar. Years later I wrote:

There is a girl named Raenell,

who didn't like her birthday very well.

When she turn 13,

she thought it quite mean,

it was her birthday but no one could tell!

Leap Year Day 1976

4@16 - My 4th Leap Day birthday! Sweet 16 turns 4!!!!

While I was riding on a nearly empty city bus,a little old man in a suit got on and sat next to me. Out of the blue, he asked me when my birthday was. Cheerfully, I said, "February 29th, Leap Year." Looking me straight in the eyes, he smiled and said, "You are very special." And for some reason, I believed him. Maybe he knew I'd be on a mission to get Leap Year Day recognized for what it is! And all these years later, I still remember that man’s words and his beautiful old face. Other Leap Day babies have told me they have had similar experiences.

Leap Year Day 1980

5@20 - My 5th Leap Day birthday! "Sun Up San Diego" was a morning TV program that held live audience days on Fridays. A couple of my friends and my mom and I went to the show on Friday, February 29, 1980. I snuck backstage and found the dressing room of the hostess. When I asked her if they were doing anything for Leap Day, she said no, but wanted to interview me during the show. I was so excited and so nervous… And it was awful.
 

I never did watch the interview, but that experience inspired me to search for other Leap Day babies. No one else could understand Leap Day the way those of us born on this day could. But while I understood what it was, I still needed to know why it exists. So I started researching this quadrennial day.

Leap Year Day 1984

6@24 - It's my 6th Leap Day birthday! Friends in L.A. throw me birthday party. My 4-year effort to locate other Leap Day babies reveals another one in my own family: a paternal third cousin, Christopher, who was born on my 5th Leap Day birthday. That was really cool. 

Leap Year Day 1988

7@28 - My 7th Leap Day birthday! And my first year of spreading Leap Year Day awareness to the locals around Hollywood, California, where I lived. Determined to share Leap Year Day with other Leap Day babies, I expanded my search to mass media. Four top radio interviews gave me names and numbers to 21 other Leap Day babies, four of whom attended my celebratory party, two boys and two girls.

 

In addition, with what I could afford, I placed a few ads in local papers and left my business cards where allowed. I even looked up birth announcements in newspaper articles from previous Leap Days on microfiche.

Exciting progress was being made about Leap Year Day awareness from my going on the radio programs. I also started my own birthday club, called Leap Year Babies Limited, The Limited Edition to the Human Race. I know, it was quite long. But now I had 21 new members to join cousin Christopher and me.​ Each member received a Leap Day packet I put together that included information about Leap Year Day, fun facts, and me. The best part? My research had revealed the purpose of Leap Day was to maintain balance between the calendar months and the seasons.

So why is it that Leap Day has such an important role in our lives and yet remains virtually unrecognized? Why aren't the words LEAP DAY in ink on calendars every February 29 the same way that the 2nd has Groundhog Day and the 14th has Valentine’s Day? Why isn’t one of the most important days acknowledged on the calendar when it's the day that keeps all the other days in line with the seasons?

Determined to set things right, I sent a Leap Day packet to all the local daytime and late night talk shows too. I wanted to get on TV so I could reach more people at once. 

​Leap Year Day 1992

8@32 - My 8th Leap Day birthday! I now lived in the Pacific Northwest and continue to spread Leap Year Day awareness. My mass media campaign in Leap Year 1988 was so successful, I tried it again in the Northwest. KUBE radio and the Space Needle, both in Seattle, WA, threw a birthday party for 30 Leap Day babies and their families. There was also a special table set up for me to sign up all the Leap Day babies to join my birthday club. Not only were several of us interviewed on KUBE radio, but 3 TV news stations were there too. It was a blast to meet a large group of Leapers! We talked about the questions we get asked and how we answer them. It was interesting to find out what we had in common.

Marquee at the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington, USA.
Raenell Being Interviewed By A Seattle News Station About Leap Day.Raenell Being Interviewed By A Seattle News Station About Leap Day.
KUBE - Raenell (holding yellow) with Group Of Leap Day Babies at Space Needle, Seattle Washington.

 

If any of you reading this are from that party and/or you have group pictures, please contact me. I'd love to hear from you again, and I'd love to have a copy of that group photo to post here on the site. Thanks! Email me here.​

 

Leap Year Day ​1996

9@36 - My 9th Leap Day birthday! I live in Keizer, Oregon, now and continue to spread Leap Year Day awareness. I appeared on two local TV shows: live on "AM Northwest" in the morning, with several other Leap Day babies, including an 84-year-old gentleman who turned 21 in Leap Years! I also taped an interview from my home with a few other Leap Day babies that aired that night on Portland's "Good Evening"program.

 

The Internet helps me to expand the reach of Leap Day awareness. Although my birthday club is not yet online, more members join from seeing the two TV shows. It now had 74 members! I was so happy!


Turning 9@36 this year, I spoke to a classroom of 9-year-old 3rd graders at the school where I'm a mentor to a little girl named Emily. We had fun being 9 together.

Raenell on AM Northwest Morning Show in Portland, Oregon 1996
Raenell at Highland Elementary 3rd Grade Class 1996 teaching them about Leap Day.
Raenell in Front Of 35 February 1996 Calendars that do not have the words LEAP DAY on the 29th.

​Special Year...In 1997  I met Leap Day baby Peter Brouwer, who had his own club, the Leap Year Baby Honor Society. As discussed at the beginning of this page, we merged our respective clubs to become the one you know today, The Honor Society of Leap Day Babies, at leapyearday.com. We have thousands of members from all over the world now.

LEAP YEAR BABY 
by Neil Rosenthal

copyright 1997 © All Rights Reserved.

I have a friend her name is Raenell
She has an interesting story to tell
The date of her birth was special in time
The month was February the date was twenty-nine

She tried to find others born on this date
She needed a plan, hoped it was not too late
Searching the Internet what did she find
A whole lot of people born on 2-29

So go read the story of this brave lass
She certainly has a lot of class
You will find it at a place we call home
At www.leapyearday.com

Around this time I also learned about Mary Ann Brown and her Leap Year birthday club, the World Wide Leap Year Birthday Club. This amazing Leap Day activist started the same year I did. 

 

Leap Year Day 2000

10@40 - I'm 10...again! Leap Year 2000 was exciting and great! The Honor Society of Leap Day Babies was mentioned in hundreds of newspapers worldwide. Peter and I conducted dozens of radio interviews all across the USA and Canada. There were Leap Day baby birthday parties all over the world.

THE LEAP YEAR BOOK hit the streets in January, and The Honor Society is mentioned in it starting on page 60 (the year I was born) with a picture of me on page 61! I'm pretty excited about that!

The first ever Leap Day baby dolls became available too. They are LeapAnne and LeapErick, designed by Gail Bond-Stokes, born in Leap Year 1952 and a twin!

 

The Ham Radio Special Event celebrated Leap Year Day by contacting Leap Day babies who were also Ham Radio Operators. I am a LeapyHam: K7FEB, and I participated in the event.

​There was a small evening party in Salem, Oregon, where I, and 6 other Leap Day babies shared our birthday with family and friends. If you are in this picture please let me know. Thanks! Email me here.​

7 Leapies Celebrating in Salem, Oregon, Leap Year Day 2000.


If any of you reading this are from that party and/or you have group pictures, please contact me. I'd love to hear from you again, and I'd love to have a copy of that group photo to post here on the site. Thanks! Email me here.​

Leap Year Day 2004

11@44 - My 11th Leap Day birthday! My celebratory party was at the Build-A-Bear Workshop in Portland, OR with a friend and 7 girls aged 11-16. The girls and I all built Leap Day baby bears and gave each of them a Leapified name; mine is called Leapton Von Leap. The Build-A-Bear Workshop even had very cool special commemorative birth certificates just for Leap Day.

Leapton Von Leap, February 29, LY'04


Although the Build-A-Bear Workshop is international, all their USA stores participated in their special Leap Day "cele-bear-ation." The whole weekend, the 28th and 29th, they celebrated Leap Year Day. It was amazing. And I had a lot of fun sharing the experience with mentees: Emily, Sarah, Molly, Ashley, Tristina, Samantha, and Brittany. We all had a great time celebrating my 11th birthday, and Leap Day in general.

That summer when a group of us that included kids and adults went to see a movie, I asked the manager if I could take advantage of the "12 and under" price because I’d turned 11 that year. I showed him my drivers license, and he laughed, because no one else had ever asked him such a question. He thought it was such a neat thing to be born on that day and got such a kick out of it, he let our entire group in free!

In less happier news, however, is the fact that:

  • “Leap Day” still does not appear in ink on the calendar.

  • The dictionary still lists “Leap Year Day” all in lowercase letters. 

  • Hospital staff are still changing the date on the birth certificate of babies born on February 29.

  • Some Department of Motor Vehicles ​computer systems still put a different date than February 29.

 

Leap Year Day 2008

12@48 - My 12th Leap Day birthday! How cool!I enjoy a fun birthday party at home with family and friends. Now that the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies has grown into the thousands all over the world, the media are able to find lots of Leap Day babies to interview. It takes a lot of responsibility off of Peter and me, and we are thankful for that. We now also have many, many fellow Leap Day babies to help us get Leap Year Day recognized for its importance.
 

Raenell in her LEAP DAY GIRL t-shirt.


Sadly, the more members that join, the more we discover how a Leap Day birthday can adversely affect people in ordinary, simple ways that don’t affect others who don’t share this birthday. Through over 30 years I have been at this quest, incredible stories of birth certificates being falsified, driver’s license date of birth not matching the birth certificate date of birth, and computer pop-ups of "invalid date" or "post proper date" when inputting our birthday has abounded. These issues must be addressed and rectified as soon as possible.

 

Meanwhile:

  • The words “Leap Day” is still not in ink on the calendar.

  • The dictionary still lists “Leap Year Day” in all lower case letters. 

  • Hospital staff are still changing the date on the birth certificate of babies born on February 29.

  • Some Department of Motor Vehicles computer systems still put a different date than February 29.

 

Leap Year Day 2012

13@52 - My 13th Leap Day birthday! Newspaper interviews and radio interviews. Social media has made it quite convenient for the media and everyone else to find Leap Day babies in their own community. We're rare, but we're out there. A few newspapers interviewed me. Girlfriends had a birthday party for me at church, and the kids in the Awana program had a very special way of wishing me a Happy Birthday. It was a fun day.

 

  • And:“Leap Day” still does not appear in ink on the calendar.

  • The dictionary still lists “Leap Year Day” all in lowercase letters. 

  • Hospital staff are still changing the date on the birth certificate of babies born on February 29.

  • Some Department of Motor Vehicles computer systems still put a different date than February 29.

 

Leap Year Day 2016

14@56 - My 14th Leap Day birthday! Social media and a few newspaper interviews. Social media continues to help connect Leap Day babies globally. It’s a wonderful thing.

 

Between now and Leap Year 2020, we need to find ways to make some serious changes regarding February 29, because:

 

  • “Leap Day” is still not in ink on the calendar.

  • The dictionary still lists “Leap Year Day” in all lower case letters. 

  • Hospital staff are still changing the date on the birth certificate of babies born on February 29.

  • Some Department of Motor Vehicles computer systems still put a different date than February 29.

 

LEAP YEAR 2020 

15@60 - Preparing for an exceptional Leap Year 2020! Check out our Events Page to stay updated on the events around the world.
 

Raenell Dawn, Leap Day Lady 1960
Raenell Dawn, Leap Day Lady 1960