Vinson: Take a break from latest chaotic news

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These days, when you turn on TV to watch the evening news, you probably cringe with anticipation regarding the latest "chaos" that has struck America: a new terrorist group far more dangerous and widespread than any of the previous ones; deranged gunman walking into a café and opening fire on all patrons inside; demonstrations against law enforcement continuing all across the country; cyber thieves hacking into major Hollywood studios and stealing not-yet-released material; another celebrity sex scandal; alleged rape on a prestigious college campus, etc.

"It's the liberal media gone wild!" a conservative political pundit will argue.

"The End of Time is near!" The Lord is coming!" a Baptist minister might yell from the pulpit during a passionate Sunday sermon.

How about we take a break from the world's woes, and I share with you a sweet story I lucked up on the other night while watching "World News." It centers on two young boys, who are best friends, and something as simple as a "chocolate bar."

Jonah Pournazarian, a 9-year-old boy from Los Angeles, California, suffers from a rare hereditary liver disease called glycogen storage disease/GSD type 1B. With GSD type 1B, the liver can store sugar but cannot release it, which can lead to a dangerously low blood sugar level, which can lead to death. Until the early '70s, GSD type 1B was considered fatal.

Every few hours, Jonah must be fed a mixture of water and cornstarch through a tube in his stomach. "We hope we don't miss an alarm clock because he could die," said Lora Pournazarian, Jonah's mother.

Jonah's best friend is a young boy named Dylan Siegel, now 8-years-old. Back in 2012, Dylan said he wanted to do something to help finance medical expenses for his friend, Jonah. Dylan's parents suggested he have a bake-sale or set up a lemonade stand. However, Dylan had higher aspirations: He told his parents he was going to write a book to help out Jonah!

Sure enough, a few hours after making his proclamation, then-6-year-old Dylan threw down some handwritten pages and illustrations in front of his parents, and proudly announced, "Here's my book."

Titled "Chocolate Bar," the Siegel family originally printed the book from home and sold a few hundred copies, at 20 dollars per copy, raising several thousand dollars. Dylan insisted, however, his goal was to raise one million dollars for his best friend, Jonah.

Via the media, social networking, and word-of-mouth, news about Dylan Siegel's little handwritten book "Chocolate Bar" spread like wildfire, and now has sold in all 50 states in the U.S., and, also, in a reported 60 countries worldwide, language translated as needed.

The "World News" special I watched reported that, indeed, "Chocolate Bar" had recently surpassed one million dollars in sales. Dr. David Weinstein, who treats Jonah Pournazarian, conducts research for GSD type 1B at the University of Florida. All proceeds from sales of the book "Chocolate Bar" go directly to Dr. Weinstein's research fund. It has been reported "Chocolate Bar," thus far, has raised more money for research against GSD type 1B than all the medical foundations and all the grants combined.

Dylan said, for him, the term "chocolate bar" is synonymous with "awesome." In his book, Dylan writes: "Going to the beach is chocolate bar. Swimming is chocolate bar. And helping his friend Jonah? That is the biggest chocolate bar."

Borrowing from an online source (pun intended) Dylan Siegel writing the book "Chocolate Bar" for his friend Jonah Pournazarian is about "the sweetest thing" I ever heard tell of.

Still, the heartfelt determination of a 6-year-old boy (Siegel) very well might ending up having played a hand in finding a cure for GSD type 1B. "It is now reality. It's not just a dream that these children can be cured," Dr. Weinstein was quoted as saying.

Folks if that's not a "million-dollar story," I don't know what is!

Merry Christmas!

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Mike Vinson
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