Happy 11th birthday!?!?

Kimberly Whitworth shows off a cookie made at Sweetface bakery in downtown Royse City proclaiming her 11th birthday on the calendar. She will actually be 44 years old on Feb. 29, since she was born on Leap Day.

Talking with Kimberly Whitworth of Royse City for even a short time, you can tell she’s a unique and positive person.

Even if you didn’t know she’s a “leapling,” a person with a Feb. 29 birthdate, you’d realize she’s a winner. She is even more special considering she was born on Leap Year back in 1976, the bi-centennial year for the United States.

Kimberly turns 44 on Leap Year as one of the select members of the Leap Year Club.

“It’s kind of crazy being born on Feb. 29, but I’ve learned to embrace it. It’s what God gave me,” Whitworth said. “It gives us something to talk about with my family.”

Whitworth is the oldest of the siblings with two brothers and two sisters in her clan. None share her unusual date of birth.

According to internet reports, the odds of being born on Feb. 29 are 1 in 1,461 or less than 1 percent. There are only five million “leaplings” in the world, less than 200,000 live in the United States.

These “leapers” as they are known in some countries, have a hard time with paperwork, since Feb. 29 is now recognized as a valid date in some computer programs.

“The driver’s license is pretty good, it has my date at Feb. 29,” Whitworth said. “If it doesn’t work then I usually pick Feb. 28 for my date of birth. The government recognizes it, but I have had some trouble on computer forms. It’s just a crazy thing I deal with. It can definitely be hard with some paperwork.”

Having a unique birthday caused Whitworth to catch good-natured teasing and barbs from her dad, Danny Chandler, as she was growing up.

“My dad always had something to say about my age. He was always giving me a hard time,” Whitworth said.

But it was all done with a good-natured spirit and in a loving manner. Chandler said he is proud of his daughter and all of her positive accomplishments.

“She’s a bicentennial baby and born on Leap Year, so that’s something. She might not have had a birthday on the calendar, but she always had a birthday party. She likes to celebrate on Feb. 28 and March 1 if we let her,” Chandler said with a laugh.

“Kim always liked cake and candy. She’d cry for it from her babysitters when she was little. Maybe being born on Leap Day gave her so much energy. She’s never settled down, she never stops. It comes from believing in the Lord, she’s had stage 4 cancer and is in remission. She’s always been a fighter.”

Chandler revealed how in junior high track, his young daughter took off to a quick start in a race, leading the field. She quickly tired and dropped back in the pack after burning off her energy.

“She was way back, then one girl tried to pass her and Kim put on a spurt, found another gear and beat her to the finish line,” Chandler said. “I was proud of that. She really finished next to last, but it looked like first to me. It showed me about her determination and fortitude.

“She’s always been a loving person, putting others before her own needs. She’s helped several people and never expected anything for doing it. It’s just the way she is. She’ll do anything for anybody. Kim and her husband, Jeff, are great people.”

Chandler said he remembers when Kim was born at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas in 1976.

“She was my first kid, I had a job in Dallas at that time. We called her baby “Nay nay” and we were pretty excited,” Chandler said.

Her husband Jeff also takes a light-hearted approach to his wife being born on Leap Day.

“I guess it means she’s grown up in a short period of time since she hasn’t had many birthdays,” Jeff Whitworth said. “She’s a one of a kind. She’s a cancer survivor who has been to hell and back with that. But she keeps battling. She’s a keeper.”

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