Cancer patient Craig Shergold Wants to Break The World Record for Receiving Greeting Cards–Previously Truth! Now Ended!
Summary of eRumor:
An email says that 9-year old Craig Shergold of Carshalton, Great Britain is dying of Cancer. As a dying wish, he wants to get into the Guinness Book of World Records by collecting the most greeting cards of anybody in history. The email asks that the cards be sent to an address of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Craig Shergold is real and in 1989 when he was 9-years old, a campaign was started on his behalf to try to break the Guinness world record for greeting cards. The Make-A-Wish Foundation had nothing to do with it, however, and Craig is now a 22-year old young man who is alive and well.
The story began in 1988 when Craig first complained of earaches. Antibiotics didn’t help and one day when his condition seemed desperate, Craig was taken to a hospital for tests, which revealed a brain tumor. He was so ill his parents were warned he might not survive. Surgery removed the tumor, but it kept growing and the outlook was not good. When the staff at Royal Marsden Hospital in London saw how much get-well cards cheered it up, it was suggested that a card project be started to break the Guinness world record. The London office of the Children’s Wish Foundation (not Make-a-Wish) got on board and the British press gave visibility to the story. The old Guinness mark was slightly more than a million cards. That record was broken by Craig within a few months, but the cards kept coming. Then along the way, the rumor said he wanted business cards, not greeting cards. The mail load got so heavy that Craig’s family ultimately halted mail delivery to their home and chose to move to a different residence. Now, Craig’s old address has its own postal code and more than 350 million pieces of mail have been received. Volunteers remove the stamps, which are sold, and the mail is then recycled, with the proceeds going to cancer research. The folks at Guinness have retired the greeting card category.
Although Craig and his family became overwhelmed by the volume of mail, they ultimately became grateful for one aspect of the visibility. Word of Craig’s condition reached Virginia billionaire John Kluge, chairman of Metromedia. He arranged for Craig to be flown to the U.S. for life-saving surgery at the University of Virginia Medical Center.
A PAX-TV movie about Craig was the result of producer Robert Woods having received the rumor and sending a card to Craig. Through that, he learned that Craig was no longer a little boy, but a healthy young man and the story struck him as a good one for the screen. He and the family have hopes that the film will help quiet the rumor.
updated 11/18/01 For more information:
Make A Wish Foundation