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Local Teenager Celebrates Her Fourth Birthday

Mar 28, 2016 11:18AM ● By Pamela Johnson
When Kerry Ferreira found out that her first child was due on a Leap Year, she couldn’t help wondering if she’d have a “leaper;” an actual Leap Day baby. “As soon as I saw it was a Leap Year that year, I knew that was just my luck,” Ferreira laughed. “I was due on the 15th of February, but the baby didn’t want to come out then.”

Shelby Ferreira was born on February 29, 2000, which made her birthday this year her fourth actual birthday; “actual” meaning she could celebrate on the genuine calendar day on which she was born. In fact, Shelby celebrated her sweet-sixteen this year, and her mother arranged a limo pick-up at school to chauffeur her and some friends around Bellingham. “There were seven of them altogether, including Shelby and her brother. The limo drove them around town, and then Shelby and the rest of the family met up for her birthday dinner,” Ferriera said.

When asked if her daughter liked having such an unusual birthday, Ferreira remarked, “She likes it because it’s different. She doesn’t like the spotlight on her, but something like this, it’s pretty special. She likes that aspect of it, the subtle uniqueness.”

Subtle uniqueness is right; it’s estimated that there are only 200,000 Americans who have a Leap Day birthday. Worldwide, there are about 5 million “leapers.” It’s certainly not unheard of for someone to have been born on Leap Day, but think about it; do you actually know someone with a Leap Day birthday? As of last Leap Year, back in 2012, Shelby Ferreira was the only leaper in the Bellingham school district.

Kerry and her husband, Bill, were both born and raised in the New England area. They met in the medical unit in Taunton, where they were stationed in the Army Reserves. Their duty to their country and a sense of responsibility to help others are things they are instilling in their three children. Shelby will be headed to Australia this summer in a program called People to People to do community service.

After stints living in Boston and Taunton, the Ferreiras have made Bellingham their home for the past 16.5 years. “It’s everything we wanted,” Kerry says about our town. “We didn’t want to raise kids in the city. Bellingham is a good little town.”  
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