Fact Check

Brandon Rayner Appeal

Cancer sufferer Brandon Rayner wants to set a world record for number of business cards received?

Published July 29, 2008


  Cancer sufferer Brandon Rayner wants to set a world record for the number of business cards received.

Status:   Was true, but the boy has since passed away.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, July 2008]

Ok everyone, I need your help... Or I should say a 10 year old boy named Brandon Rayner does.

Brandon is a bright and bubbly kid who has an acute illness. He survived a brain tumor aprox. 1 year ago and was recently diagnosed with leukemia. Brandon is collecting business cards in effort to someday be included in the Guinness World Records. His interest started about 2 years ago & to date he has about 14,000 some from Alabama, Connecticut & California. He is hoping to get some from out of the country soon.

Brandon's future consists of a bone marrow transplant (when a match is found) and several more rounds of chemotherapy. He is to ill to attend this years NCCF (nevada childhood cancer foundation) camp, so a few people will bring camp to him. We plan on doing a preliminary count of the cards in 3 weeks to finish the paperwork for the Guiness World Records. So if you could please mail any cards in about 2 weeks, that will give him time to catalog them all. Anyone who lives in the Vegas area I will be more then happy to come by and pick them up just call, you may have also read the 2 articles featured in the Las Vegas Review Journal about Brandon on July 5th & again on July 8th.

Business Cards Can be sent to:

Monique Carter 3196 Morning Whisper Dr. Henderson, NV. 89052

OR Brandon Rayner at Sunrise Children's Hospital, Attention: Pediatric Oncology, 3186 S. Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, NV. 89109.

Brandon is planning a trip to the Grand Canyon so any cards sent to the hospital in his absence will be held for him.

Please forward this to anyone who may be interested

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

Las Vegas.

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 business cards.

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 Craig Shergold fiasco in which a lad who (then) had cancer brought strife upon himself, his family, and even the Children's Wish Foundation via his desire to get into the record books.

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 250 million get-well cards across the span of his appeal (although Guinness World Records retired that category in 1992 at 33 million after finding those kind of campaigns kept circulating long after the recipients wanted them to stop).

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.

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!

Barbara "card of hearing" Mikkelson

Last updated:   31 December 2008

  Sources Sources:

    Smith, John.   "Volunteers Needed to Help Brave 10-Year-Old Battle Against the Odds."

    Las Vegas Review-Journal.   8 July 2008.

    Wells, Annette.   "10-Year-Old's Record Is in Cards."

    Las Vegas Review-Journal.   5 July 2008.

    Wells, Annette.   "10-Year-Old Leukemia Patient Gets 500,000 Business Cards."

    Las Vegas Review-Journal.   8 September 2008   (p. B2).

    Wells, Annette.   "Boy Who Went For Record Loses Battle."

    Las Vegas Review-Journal.   31 December 2008.