The United Arab Emirates Embassy in Canberra has collected around 5,000 keyrings to help Queensland teenager Jacob Mackay break the world record for most individual keyrings in a collection – hopefully in time for his 16th birthday on 26 September.
The world record attempt began in May when Jacob, who has Asperger’s and loves to collect things, joked to his mum Lorraine about how cool it would be.
The world record stands at 62,257; at that time, he had around 60.
To surprise her son on his birthday, Lorraine posted on social media and asked for her friends’ help.
Her post was shared over 9,000 times.
“I never thought it would ever be as big as it has gotten, especially needing its own Facebook page so everyone can keep track,” she said.
“We’ve received mail from all over the world.
“It was going to be a surprise, but it just got too big and I couldn’t keep it a secret anymore. Jacob is involved now and is enjoying opening them.”
Jacob’s Facebook page now has over 5,000 followers and he has nearly 25,000 keyrings, as at 4 September.
Lorraine said she is amazed by the public’s support.
“It’s truly beyond anything I ever imagined, there are so many kind people in this world,” she said.
“We’ve received family collections from deceased relatives, that weren’t sure what to do with them until they came across us and thought it was a good cause.
“So many people wanting to be part of it and I think it has given people something good to look forward to during these hard, unpredictable times.”
The UAE Embassy in Canberra became involved in June when an employee came across Lorraine’s post while browsing social media.
They shared the story with His Excellency Abdulla Al Subousi, UAE Ambassador to Australia, who shared it with embassy staff members as an initiative and 38 staff members became involved to help Jacob reach his milestone.
As well, the embassy created a prepaid arrangement with Australia Post for others to send their keyrings to Jacob’s address at no charge.
An embassy spokesperson said they feel part of the Australian community and wanted to be part of Lorraine’s initiative because it had a humanitarian goal.
“We believe in helping individuals achieve their dreams and goals, and we hope our contribution will play a role in that for Jacob,” the spokesperson said.