Dalton Dingus, Kentucky Boy Who Attempted Christmas Card Record, Has Died

Dalton Dingus, 9, rallied the world before dying from cystic fibrosis

ByRussell Goldman
January 16, 2013, 5:48 PM

Jan. 17 2013—, 2013 -- Dalton Dingus, a little boy from rural Kentucky whose dying wish to set a record for receiving the most Christmas cards earned him support from around the world, has died. He was nine.

Dalton, who succumbed to a lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis on Saturday, received more than 500,000 cards from all over the world, his family said.

At a funeral service on Wednesday, many of those cards decorated the Bethlehem to Cavalry Apostolic Church in Salyersvile, Ky., Kathy Smithers, a resident who attended the ceremony, told ABCNews.com.

"There were lots and lots of people there," said Smithers. "Members of the police department, and the fire department, and the sheriff. It felt like the whole town was here."

Dalton's illness, his positive attitude and his goal to set a Guinness World Record first inspired his neighbors in Salyersvile and then the world. A Facebook post asking friends to send cards to Dalton went viral, picked up by a local newspaper and then media from as far away as Israel and Ireland, South Dakota and South Korea.

In the days before Christmas, there were so many letters pouring in that a local television reporter with his own truck delivered the cards that could not fit in the mail carrier's van. Dalton's house became so filled with letters that at first neighbors and then his family's church would accept the mail and sort it.

The letters came from children sometimes younger than him in languages he did not speak and from places he never heard of.

The cards filled Dalton's home, spread out on the floor where he played with Lego blocks and painted pictures.

Miss Kentucky visited, bringing along some cards. So did a unit of Kentucky State Troopers and the star of Animal Planet's "Call of the Wildman."

The town rallied around Dalton, with volunteers working round the clock to sort and count the cards.

"The cards give him something to look forward to. Something to get excited about," Dalton's mother Jessica Dingus told ABCNews.com before his death.

Guinness was in touch the Dingus family before Dalton died to discuss applying for recognition.

As of Wednesday, the family had not made a formal application, according to Guinness.

"At this time, there has been no formal record application made with Guinness World Records for this particular attempt, so we are unable to speculate on whether or not it would constitute a new record," Guinness spokeswoman Jamie Panas told ABCNews.com

"If and when an application is made on his behalf, our records management team could then explore the topic of re-opening a designation for his feat," she said.

Guinness does not currently monitor attempts for receiving Christmas cards. However, its does have an old record on the books. As of 1992, the last official time Guinness allowed for a Christmas card category, Canadian Jarrod Booth had collected 205,120 cards.

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