Lakeridge Health managers celebrate ’14’ candles, 60 years after Leap Year Oshawa Hospital births just hours apart


Published February 29, 2024 at 11:01 am

oshawa hospital
Leap Year babies Don Baron and Lisa McVety - both senior staff with Lakeridge Health - were born hours apart at the Oshawa hospital 60 years ago

The chances of being born on February 29 are slim – one in 1,461 to be exact. But what are the chances of sharing this unique birthday with a colleague, where you are both born at the same hospital, in the same year?

Don Baron, Manager, Engineering and Infrastructure, and Lisa McVety, Director of Operations and Administrator at Lakeridge Gardens, have all those things in common, making them both ‘Leapers’ – a term often used by those who have a Leap Year Day birthday.

On February 29, 1964, Baron and McVety were born at the former Oshawa General Hospital. “We were crib mates,” joked McVety, who has worked at Lakeridge Health for 38 years in a variety of leadership positions.

However, it wasn’t until years into their careers at Lakeridge Health that they made the connection. “I was talking to another colleague one day and the topic of birthdays came up,” explained Baron, who has worked at Lakeridge Health for nine years. “When I mentioned that I was born on February 29, she had a surprised look on her face and told me that Lisa, one of her close friends, had the same birthday. I went back to my office and sent Lisa an email about it, and 10 minutes later my phone was ringing.”

Since then, the two have enjoyed joking about their special day. “I like to poke fun that Lisa’s older than me since she was born at 2:30 a.m. and I was born at 7:35 a.m.,” laughed Baron, who McVety jokes was her “first date” back in the nursery.

Although Leap Year Day babies are celebrated now, Baron said that being born on February 29 hasn’t always been regarded in a positive light.

“Before the age of the internet, it wasn’t so special, and apparently to some, it was bad luck to be born on a Leap Day,” he noted. “On the way to the hospital, my mother demanded that the car be turned around because she was not having a baby on a Leap Day. Needless to say, that didn’t happen.”

Over time, he has grown to love his birthday. In fact, Baron belongs to the Leap Year Day Babies Society online and even has a tattoo of a frog with the word ‘Leaper’ under it. McVety shares that she has always loved having such a special birthday as it makes her unique. “It’s a very small and rare club to be a part of.”

With 2024 being a Leap Year, Baron and McVety will be able to celebrate with family and friends on their actual birthday. On non-Leap Years, however, they have different traditions in how they celebrate.

“I used to celebrate my birthday on February 28 because I wanted to keep it in February,” Baron said. “But my wife’s logic is that I wasn’t yet born on the 28th, I was born the day after, so now we always celebrate on March 1.”

McVety, however, chooses to celebrate her birthday in February for a different reason. “I like the amethyst birthstone and the violet birth flower which both happen to be for February, so I choose to celebrate on February 28.”

While they don’t normally celebrate their birthdays together, with both of them turning 60 – or just 14 if you count Leap Years (there was no Leap Year in 2000) – this year might be different. “This is a big year and a milestone birthday,” McVety said with a smile. “I think we just might have to have a reunion outside the nursery to celebrate!”

With files from Lakeridge Health Oshawa

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