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Birthday Cards for Shane Bernier

Netlore Archive: Email chain letter solicits birthday cards for leukemia victim Shane Bernier of Lancaster, Ontario, who turns 8 years old on May 30, 2007 and hopes to set the Guinness World Record for number of cards received

Description: Email chain letter
Circulating since: January 2007
Status: Authentic
Analysis: See below

Email example contributed by Monica R., 7 February 2007:


Seven year old Shane Bernier of Lancaster, Ontario is a patient receiving treatment for Leukemia at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

On May 30th, Shane will be turning 8 years old.

HE HAS A DREAM.... to receive the largest amount of birthday cards so that he can be entered into the Guinness Book of Records.

Let's help make his dream come true.


P.O. BOX 484
K0C 1N0

Comments: True. Seven-year-old Shane Bernier of Lancaster, Ontario was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia three years ago and is currently undergoing chemotherapy at Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. If the treatment succeeds, doctors say he has an 80 percent chance of permanent remission.

Last year, with the help of his family, Shane launched his bid to be the Guinness World Record holder for the most birthday cards received by an individual. He will turn 8 years old on May 30, 2007. At last report he had accumulated over 10,000 cards and was receiving new ones at the rate of a thousand a day.

Craig Shergold, a cautionary tale

The only obstacle in Shane Bernier's way, ironically, is the fact that the previous record holder for greeting cards, Craig Shergold, had such a successful run that Guinness retired the category. Shergold, an urban legend in his own right because chain letters soliciting get well cards are still circulating in his name a decade-and-a-half after he won the record, began his own quest in 1989 after he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Surgery cured his disease in 1991, at which point he had already received 33 million cards and the permanent world record, but that wasn't the end of the story. Now in his late twenties, Shergold is still receiving get well cards, the latest total topping 350 million. It is a cautionary tale Shane Bernier might do well to heed.

A February 3, 2007 article in the Ottawa Citizen claimed that the Guinness folks was "considering" adding a new category -- birthday cards -- so Shane Bernier would have a real shot at a World Record. At last report they had decided against it.

Update: New versions of the "Send Shane a Birthday Card" chain letter appeared in May 2007 claiming the leukemia sufferer resides in Crystal Lake, Illinois or Schuylerville, New York, and that the Make-A-Wish Foundation is participating in the campaign. False on all counts.

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Sources and further reading:

Shane Bernier Turns Birthday Cards into Quest for Recognition by Guinness World Records
Ottawa Citizen, 3 February 2007

A Simple Birthday Card Will Make Shane Bernier's Wish Come True
Huntsville Forester, 31 January 2007

Send Shane Bernier a Birthday Card
Web site features print & send birthday cards

Craig Shergold, A User's Guide

Last updated: 05/25/07

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