Ben Baker is looking to receive his second Guinness Book of World Records plaque.
The School of Tourism and Hospitality Management sophomore is currently preparing to make a 26-mile-long Slip ‘N Slide ride in less than an hour.
On May 2, Baker and his friends will set up the 100-foot slide at Camp Conquest in Denver, Pennsylvania.
“The slide is 100 feet long, so every time someone goes down they check off 100 feet,” Baker said. “It doesn’t matter how many people go down a slide at once. They can check off 300 feet if three people slide down at the same time.”
This won’t be the first time Baker is breaking a record – he’s been in the Guinness Book of World Records for riding more than 334 miles within 24 hours on a Razor scooter.
Baker came up with the idea during his freshman year at Messiah College when one of his friends purchased a scooter. Baker said he and his friends would ride their scooters up and down hills in the middle of the night, traveling as far as 15 miles. They became known as the “Night Razors.”
The group hit more than 200 likes in two days after creating a Facebook page. Once they noticed they had a huge following, Baker said the group wanted to do something big.
The Night Razors decided to ride on the coast of New Jersey, and Baker said one member thought of attempting to set a record for farthest distance covered on a Razor Scooter.
But Baker is setting records for a reason. While preparing to set his first record, Baker said that proceeds from the attempt would benefit The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland. He has a personal connection to the organization.
At 10 years old, Baker was diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis of the liver.
“The liver is scarred from birth,” Baker said. “You’re pretty much born with a fluke.”
Because he was often in and out of the hospital for blood work, Baker said he frequently missed school. Doctors prescribed him 22 pills a day, he said.
Though he said he was able to live a relatively normal childhood, he was barred from playing contact sports because of his enlarged spleen.
Baker said he went through a phase of denial when he was about 11 years old. He would repeatedly tell himself, “I’m not sick. I’m not sick.”
He said his attitude further affected his health and his energy.
In May 2013, Baker was told he had liver failure.
“Once you’re told your liver is failing [and] you have 60 days to live, you see yourself melting away until you get a new liver,” he said.
The Living Legacy Foundation worked closely with John Hopkins Hospital to push Baker toward the top of the transplant list and identified a match for him. He said the transplant gave him an appreciation for life and that he “had a heart for giving back.”
A year after his successful 13-hour transplant, Baker was diagnosed with posttransplant lymphoproliferative disease, or PTLD. Baker said it’s a type of cancer that only 1 percent of all transplant recipients get.
He added that he is currently in remission. If he can go another year without a resurgence, he said he will be deemed cancer free.
The Night Razors received many donations to aid their efforts. Razor, the company that makes the scooters, donated scooters and jerseys, and Baker said other companies sent cameras. The group doesn’t earn money through Guiness, but they were able to raise more than enough through YouCaring.
Not only did they beat the longest distance traveled on a scooter record by 18 miles in May 2014, they were also able to raise enough money to pay off expenses and to donate $7,000 to the Living Legacy Foundation.
The Night Razors are currently beginning to fundraise for the Slip ‘N Slide event. Although Baker is excited for the event, he was just released from John Hopkins after having his spleen monitored for a little over a week.
“I don’t know if I’ll be able to slide, so we’ll have to wait and see,” Baker said.
Jane Babian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.