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

“Of course, every baby is special, but there’s just something unique about our leap day newborns,” said Kathy Schoech, executive director of nursing for women’s and children’s services at Mercy Hospital Joplin. “We wanted to be able to recognize their unique birthdays in a way their families will always remember.”

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.”

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.

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.

Mercy, one of the 20 largest U.S. health systems and named the top large system in the U.S. for excellent patient experience by NRC Health, serves millions annually with nationally recognized care and one of the nation’s largest and highest performing Accountable Care Organizations in quality and cost. Mercy is a highly integrated, multi-state health care system including more than 50 acute care and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, convenient and urgent care locations, imaging centers and pharmacies. Mercy has over 900 physician practice locations and outpatient facilities, more than 4,500 physicians and advanced practitioners and 50,000 co-workers serving patients and families across Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has clinics, outpatient services and outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In fiscal year 2023 alone, Mercy provided more than half a billion dollars of free care and other community benefits, including traditional charity care and unreimbursed Medicaid.


Originally published at
Images courtesy of PixaBay

Previous articleVictory Sports Media Forges Unique Partnership with Ellevest Aimed to Increase Women-Centric Sports Content
Next articleComprehensive humanitarian assistance for Ukraine in the second winter of the Russian war of aggression