Six-Year-Old Boy Raises Thousands of Dollars for His Sick Best Friend

March 30, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. astonish 
[uh-STON-ish]  (v.) – to be greatly surprised or amazed
Example: People were astonished by the child’s wish to raise money for the poor.

2. catch phrase [KACH freyz] (noun phrase) – a phrase used to attract attention
Example: Environmental campaigners made posters with “Think Green” as a catch phrase.

3. cure [kyoor] (n.) – a treatment used to heal a sickness
Example: People consult doctors to find a cure for their illness.

4. fatal [FEYT-l] (adj.) – deadly or may cause death
Example: Some diseases can be fatal when left untreated.

5. ward off [WAWRD awf] (phrasal verb) – to defend against or to fight off something
Example: A healthy body naturally wards off some diseases.

Read the text below.

Dylan Siegel, a six-year-old boy from Los Angeles, has written a children’s book to raise money for his sick best friend.

Seven-year-old Jonah Pournazarian [por-nuh-ZAIR-i-uhn], Dylan’s best friend, has a rare liver disease called glycogen [GLAHY-kuh-juhn, -jen] storage disease type 1B, which causes low blood sugar levels. Jonah’s body also has difficulty warding off bacterial infections.

The disease can be fatal, and Jonah must eat cornstarch seven times a day so that his body can slowly get the type of sugar it needs.

To help his friend, Dylan wrote a 16-page book filled with his own drawings. He named the book “Chocolate Bar.” Even though Jonah cannot eat chocolate because of his disease, the two boys made “chocolate bar” their catch phrase to describe things that they think are cool or awesome.

In the book, Dylan says activities such as going to the beach and helping friends are “so chocolate bar.” Dylan’s parents got the book published in November last year.

The boys’ parents were astonished by the book’s success. The book’s website and Facebook page have received thousands of visitors from all over the world who have shown support and given donations.

So far, “Chocolate Bar” has raised more than $92,000 to support a research team in the University of Florida in finding a cure for Jonah’s disease.

Dylan’s wish to help does not stop there. Dylan’s goal is to raise $1 million for research on Jonah’ disease. He also wants to make a “Chocolate Bar” book series to raise money for other kinds of diseases.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

·         What do you think about the little boy’s effort to help his friend? Explain your response.
·         How can we show our friends that we care about them?

Discussion B

·         Do you think children’s ideas are sometimes better than adults? Why or why not?
·         What qualities of children do you think adults should have? Please explain your answer.


March 30, 2013