Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Cancer sufferer Brandon Rayner wants to set a world record for the number of business cards received.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, July 2008]
Origins: This request for business cards for a suffering youngster reached us in July 2008. Unlike some "sick child asks for cards" entreaties, this one was for real: there was such a child, and both his condition and request were as described.
Brandon Rayner of Las Vegas, Nevada, was a ten-year-old brain tumor survivor. He also had leukemia, for which he was being treated at Sunrise Children's Hospital in
Brandon had been collecting business cards for a couple of years simply because he found them interesting, but in 2008 decided he wanted to be included in the Guinness World Records annals as the holder of the record for the largest assemblage of these items. He had consequently asked that folks send him their business cards to aid in his quest.
The boy passed away on 24 December 2008. At the time of his passing, he had amassed more than 900,000 cards.
An entity called the World Records Academy has awarded Brandon recognition for the largest collection of
However, that the youngster wanted to establish a world record for this achievement doesn't necessarily mean that Guinness World Records will honor the attempt and list it in its book even if the boy does manage to accumulate a gobsmackingly large stockpile of cards. Guinness requires that those seeking to be recognized as record holders in any category register with it and fill out the proper forms as a first step in the vetting process. Those looking to break existing records are then sent current record details and the relevant rules and guidelines, while the requests of those trying something that hasn't been done before are forwarded to the company's research department for review — first to determine if there's interest in the new category, then to lay down the necessary guidelines for the try.
Yet there is hope for the attempt. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, "And though not official, a representative from Guinness said the company is looking into creating a record for the largest business card collection. Because no one currently has this record, Brandon would be the one to beat."
Jo Rayner, Brandon's mother, said she submitted the application to Guinness at the beginning of September 2008 and is patiently waiting to hear back.
However, even if all the requisite paperwork hoops are jumped through, it's unlikely Guinness will want to involve itself in this try. It once allowed itself to be entangled in a similar record attempt concerning the accumulation of birthday cards, which led to the
While there is no official record for the most birthday cards received in a single year, Craig Shergold is believed to have received in the neighborhood of
As Guiness has concluded, the danger with such entreaties is they don't magically end when the need is fulfilled. The Shergold family continued to receive an avalanche of cards even after it had repeatedly asked that folks cease forwarding them and eventually had to move because of the influx of well-intentioned mail.
Guinness explains its position very clearly in the FAQ on its web site, saying of Shergold record:
This record attempt has ceased. Many years ago, a boy fighting cancer started a campaign for people to send him get-well messages in order to set a record for the most items received. Not only was that boy successful in getting a mention in the 1991 edition of the Guinness World Records book, he also made a full recovery.Barbara "card of hearing" Mikkelson
However, since then, chain mails have started up with variations on the original story, some requesting business cards or compliments slips rather than get-well messages. Please don't respond to any such requests, and if anyone asks you about it please tell them it's a hoax!
Last updated: 31 December 2008
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