Mercy Celebrates Leap Day with Onesies for New Babies, Co-worker Recognitions

February 28, 2024

For leap day 2024, Mercy’s labor and delivery departments across four states will welcome the newest members of the community with a tribute to their ultra-rare birthdays: Newborns will be gifted a white onesie, featuring a cheerful green frog and the playful declaration, "Leap Day Baby 2024." This gesture celebrates these unique births and warmly wraps the new arrivals in the spirit of Mercy from their very first day.

Mercy doctor's coat

In addition to celebrating leap day babies, Mercy is also highlighting the special stories of its co-workers with Feb. 29 birthdays. Among them is Hailey Wolski, a Mercy patient service agent in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Wolski said her leap day birthday is often a source of curiosity and celebration, incorporated into her life with special traditions and a deep connection to her family. From enjoying a king cake sent by her family in South Louisiana to coincide with Mardi Gras each year to creating lasting memories with her children on her “extra day” every four years, Wolski’s experience captures the essence of what it means to celebrate a birthday that comes around just once every four years.

"Having a leap day birthday adds an interesting wrinkle to my life," Wolski said. "It gives me a chance to explain the fascinating reasons behind the extra day in our calendar and embrace the special traditions that come with it. It's about making the most of this unique day and cherishing the moments with loved ones."

Mercy Leap Day Baby 2024 Onesies

Babies across Mercy may receive a Leap Day Baby 2024 onesie to mark the special birthday. Here's the unboxing.

Chloe Vidal, an emergency department nurse technician at Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City, joked that she enjoys receiving cards reflecting how many true birthdays she has had, as opposed to her actual age.

"I find it fun to get kids’ birthday cards, like ‘Happy 6th birthday!’ Even though I’m turning 24," she said.

“It’s fun being born on leap day because it’s a great conversation starter,” Vidal said. “It also makes birthdays more meaningful when it’s a leap year because this day only happens once every four years. I typically just spend time with my family; it's nothing special or out of the ordinary, but I find it fun to receive kid birthday cards for my non-leap year age.”

Vidal said that in non-leap years, she has always celebrated her birthday on March 1 rather than Feb. 28, at the insistence of her mother.

“My mom refused to let me celebrate early because she was in labor all day on Feb. 28, 2000,” she said with a laugh.

Mercy Public Safety Officer Cindy Huelsing Turns "16"

Celebrating her "sweet 16" Leap Day birthday the same year two of her grandkids turn 16 has been fun for Huelsing.

Ashlea Sullivan, a central scheduler with Mercy Hospital Southeast, in Cape Girardeau, Mo., immediately recalled her most memorable birthday; it was one for which she received a cake and a Barbie doll.

“My daughter and I got to turn 10 in the same year,” she said. As fun and interesting an experience as that was, Sullivan admitted that she’s “looking forward to a real birthday this year!”

With fewer than 0.1% of the world's population born on Feb. 29, Mercy recognizes and celebrates its distinct group of co-workers who share leap year birthdays. Out of nearly 50,000 co-workers, fewer than 40 can claim the distinction of having a leap day birthday.

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