This 8 Year Old's Book Has Raised $1 Million To Fight His Friend's Rare Disease
Kids say the darndest things—and do the kindest things, at the same time! Both of these facts ring true in the story of Dylan Siegel and Jonah Pournazarian, two boys who met in elementary school and whose friendship inspired an amazing project that has grown beyond what either one could have imagined.
Dylan and his parents met Jonah and his parents at a school orientation, during which Jonah's family shared that Jonah was living with Glycogen Storage Disease (GSD Type 1b), a rare liver condition that prevents the body from fighting off infections. The two boys were fast friends, and Dylan knew immediately that he wanted to try to help cure his buddy of his illness.
"When I found out that Jonah was sick, I felt like I really needed to do something," Dylan remembers. At first, Dylan thought about running a lemonade stand, but he realized that he needed to raise more money than lemonade would bring in. So he decided to write a book.
With help from his mom and dad, Dylan turned the story that he had written (called "Chocolate Bar") into a printed book, and they set out to sell a few at school.
In the first couple of hours, 200 copies of "Chocolate Bar" and 100 custom-wrapped pieces of chocolate sold out. Dylan had raised more than $5,000 in just hours.
He wasn't stopping there. Today, "Chocolate Bar" has sold more than 26,000 copies and has raised over $1 million for a research fund named in Jonah's honor at the The Glycogen Storage Disease Program at the University of Florida.
Jonah has, of course, read the book. His favorite part? The last page, "because it says, 'having friends is the biggest chocolate bar.'"
And if you love seeing amazing stuff kids are doing, visit the Kids Are Awesome YouTube Channel, part of the HooplaHa Network... and don't forget to smile!