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Craig Shergold (born 24 June 1979) is a British former cancer patient who is most famous for receiving over 35 million greeting cards, earning him a place in the Guinness Book of 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.

In 1989, Shergold, then aged nine, was diagnosed with what was thought to be terminal brain cancer. His family issued a chain letter, requesting that greeting cards be sent to Shergold so that he could make it into the Book of Records. They neglected to put a time limit on the appeal and as a result, 19 million greeting cards were sent by the next year, and 35 million by the end of 1991. American billionaire John Kluge learned of Shergold’s plight, and arranged for him to have brain surgery to remove the tumor, an operation that was successful.

Nonetheless, the chain letter continued to make its way around the Internet and millions of greeting cards continued to flow to Shergold’s home. The family halted mail delivery, and later moved. The home was given its own postal code because of the volume of mail sent there. Mail being sent to that address is now being recycled. The Book of Records has retired this record as they do not want anyone to try to top Shergold’s feat.

Over the years, the chain letter has undergone many permutations. Shergold’s name has been changed to variations as “Craig Shelford” or “Greg Sherwood” or even "Daring Herold" or "Arnold". The latter name is used in a Polish mutation that requests for the chain letter to be sent to as many institutions as possible, as well as to a "Frau Yelken" from Germany, instead of being sent to Shergold.[1]

Shergold's mother, Marion, wrote a book about Craig's story - "Craig Shergold : A Mother's Story"[2]

In 2001, the PAX cable channel showed The Miracle of the Cards, a made-for-TV movie starring Thomas Sangster as Shergold.[3]

Craig is now a healthy adult and requests for the mail to stop.

References

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