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Leaping cousins

Tori Gunther, left, and Jade Freeman, right, are cousins who share a unique birthday. Both were born in Leap Day.


SOUTH POINT — Unusual circumstances connect people every day, even a birthday that only comes around every four years.

Two cousins, Jade Freeman and Tori Gunther, share this unusual connection.

“We thought it was neat because it was unique,” Melanie Freeman, Jade’s mother, said. “She didn’t understand it until she was 12 but she didn’t mind it as long as she had a party.”

Jade, 20, has grown to enjoy the circumstances.

“I use to think it was weird that my birthday came only every four years,” Jade said. “Now I think it’s unique.”

At Jade’s 12th birthday party, Tara Gunther was pregnant with Tori. Her due date was March 8. There were no signs of labor until the early morning hours on Leap Day in 2004, Gunther said.

“We (Melanie and Tara) were at Jade’s party talking about it,” Gunther said. “How neat it would be to be born on leap day, it would be so strange the more we thought about it.”

Once Tori was born, Gunther tried to break the news to Melanie Freeman.

“I thought they were kidding,” Melanie Freeman said. “When I was first told, I didn’t believe it.”

Melanie and Tara are planning a joint party for the girls with just the family and then both girls will have separate parties with their friends, Gunther said.

To celebrate Jade’s 16th birthday party, Melanie had shirts made that said four at 16, Jade said.

“It’s something I would expect out of my mom,” Jade said.

The freeman’s typically celebrate Jade’s birthday on Feb. 28, while the Gunther’s celebrate Tori’s party on March 1.