Every four years 500,000 children are born with a life-long and extremely severe disease. In the midst of history’s treacheries, the Black Plague, the Holocaust, and Christian Fundamentalism, Feb. 29 poses the greatest threat.
Because Feb. 29 only occurs every four years the victims born on this date take four times longer to age. Sally Andrews should be turning 16 this year, but because of the ailment that is the leap year she is just now celebrating her 4th birthday. For the past 16 years poor Sally has subsisted on a diet of chicken nuggets, macaroni, and PBS programming.
Sally’s parents have come to terms with her condition.
“It’s been hard to accommodate our baby girl,” says Mrs. Andrews. “Sure she’s a little larger than the average four year old due to her condition, but we’ve managed so far.” When Sally outgrew her stroller, the Andrews’ began pushing her around in a shopping cart.
“What we really can’t handle is the judgment. People look at our daughter like she’s contagious when she’s really just like every other toddler, we don’t want her to feel different,” says Mrs. Andrews.
But Sally is different. Not only are leap year babies impeded physically, but they are also subject to kleptomania.
“It’s something we’re really not sure how to handle,” says Tom Clifford, Director of the Stanford Medical Research Center. “We’ve recently noticed the correlation between a lack of birthday presents and crime rate.”
These children, at no fault of their own, are born into a condition that deprives them of an annual birthday celebration and the associated presents crucial for personality development. Because Sally Andrews was deprived of the Barbie and Ken Playhouse she has been asking for, she is now four times more likely to commit a crime down the road.
In addition the leap year has caused a mass epidemic in terms of retirement. Coal miner John Simpson was born in 1912 and has only seen 25 birthdays – technically he is 100 years old. Because of his condition, employers would only consider hiring him when he had legally reached 18, at the age of 72. Tied to his oxygen tank, arthritis, and wheel chair, Simpson still does not have enough money to retire.
In support of leap year victims the Stanford Medical Center will be hosting an awareness walk to raise money and address forms of prevention called “Save Yourself For Your Future Offspring: Abstinence May-June.”
“We’ll be handing out contraceptives to avoid pregnancy during this time and will be encouraging young couples to be more responsible and avoid any conception that would result in a Feb. 29 birthday,” says Clifford.
“I hope that there will come a day when no parent has to watch their child suffer the way that I have,” says Mrs. Andrews, while attempting to place her 120-pound daughter in her crib. “I can only hope for a better future.”
Here at M-A Bear News, we couldn’t agree more. Our publication would like to take a moment to honor those whose lives have been destroyed by the leap year.