24 June 1979 |
Carshalton, Surrey, UK
|Known for||Receiving the most greeting cards and earning him a spot in the 1991 and 1992 Guinness Book of World Records|
Craig Shergold (born 24 June 1979) is a British former cancer patient who is most famous for receiving an estimated 350,000,000 greeting cards, earning him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Variations of the plea for greeting cards sent out on his behalf in 1989 are still being distributed through the Internet, making the plea one of the most persistent urban legends.
The story began in 1988 when Craig Shergold started complaining of ear aches. After antibiotics were unsuccessful, doctors diagnosed him in 1989, at the age of nine, with what was thought to be terminal brain cancer. A chain letter was initiated by Craig's friends and relatives on his behalf requesting that greeting cards be sent to Shergold so that he could make it into the Guinness Book of World Records. It is unclear exactly how the chain started and propagated, although the Children's Wish Foundation was involved in the campaign in the early stages and quickly became overwhelmed by the volume of cards being received (they now disavow any connection with chain letter campaigns). The campaign was successful, and Shergold's name was listed in the 1991 Guinness Book of World Records as having received 16,250,692 get-well cards by May 1990, and again in the 1992 Guinness Book of World Records as having received 33 million cards by May 1991. Virginia billionaire John Kluge, founder of Metromedia, learned of Shergold's plight, and arranged for him to travel to the United States for a new type of operation. He was operated on in 1991 at the University of Virginia Medical Center, where doctors were able to remove virtually all of the tumor except for a benign fragment. The chain letter continued to circulate around the Internet and millions of greeting cards continued to flow to Shergold's home. He estimates that by 1998, the total amount of cards received was 250 million. He even received greeting cards from celebrities like Madonna and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The family halted mail delivery, and later moved. The home was given its own postal code because of the volume of mail sent there. The original request has also undergone many permutations over the years. For example, Shergold's name was changed to "Craig Shelford", or "Craig Stafford", or "Craig Shefford", or even "Greg Sherwood". Another variant involves requests for business cards. Guinness World Records has since retired the record and is requesting that individuals no longer respond to any requests for greeting cards.
In 1993, Shergold's mother, Marion, wrote a book about her son's story entitled, Craig Shergold : A Mother's Story. On 10 November 2001, PAX TV aired a made-for-TV movie, The Miracle of the Cards. The movie starred Thomas Sangster as Shergold and also featured Kirk Cameron as a cynical reporter.
Craig had grown into a healthy adult and it is estimated that he has received approximately 350 million greeting cards since 1989. He does not make any public appearances other than to express his new wish – for the mail to stop. As of 2013[update], he continues to receive cards, sent to his old address.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation also states on their Web site that they do not engage in chain letters or telemarketing activities and also denies any involvement in fulfilling Craig's original wish, stating that it was done by another wish-granting organization. Any mail that is received is forwarded to a recycling center.
- "Cancer patient Craig Shergold Wants to Break The World Record for Receiving Greeting Cards.". www.truthorfiction.com. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
- Emery, David. "A User's Guide to Craig Shergold.". About.com. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
- Mikkelson, Barbara & David P. "Craig Shergold.". Snopes. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
- Donald McFarlan & Norris McWhirter (1991). Guinness Book of World Records, 1991.. New York City: Bantam Books. p. 487. ISBN 0553289543.
- Donald McFarlan & Norris McWhirter (1992). Guinness Book of World Records, 1992.. New York City: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 216. ISBN 0851123783.
- "Flood of postcards continuing after Craig Shergold cured of brain cancer.". Kingman Daily Miner. 6 July 1998. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
- "Frequently Asked Questions.". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
- Marion Shergold & Pamela Cockerill (1993). Craig Shergold: A Mother's Story.. New York City: Bantam Books. p. 364. ISBN 0553406299.
- "The Miracle of the Cards.". IMDB. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
- Williams, Robert M. (21 November 2007). "Most of us just want to be kind.". The Alma Times. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
- Tahir, Tariq (7 February 2013). "Well-wishers send 350m get well cards to former cancer patient". (UK) Metro. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
- "Fraud Alerts.". Make-A-Wish Foundation. Retrieved 14 June 2012.