― A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh
Today I would like to begin by not talking about a book that I read, but rather by sharing information on a book I will order. The book is entitled Chocolate Bar, and it is written by Dylan Siegal. I don't know much about the plot, but I know quite a bit about the author. He is eight years old, and if you read my blog last week you will realize why he is my idea of a hero. Dylan's best friend Jonah Pournazarian has a rare liver disorder called glycogen storage disease type 1B. I assume that you have never heard of this disease, that requires that he be fed through a tube every three hours, round the clock, to keep him alive. Jonah is a fun loving boy who is one of 500 children in the world who has this incurable disease. Because the number is so low, this disease had no funding...no company can back research or drug production when the "user" pool is so small. So Dylan took it upon himself to write a book in inimitable eight year old fashion, get it published and sell it for $20 a copy. All funds go to a University of Florida lab, where Dr. David Weinstein leads a research team studying and treating patients. In a little over a year, this eight year old hero raised 1 million dollars for research. The money has enabled Dr. Weinstein to hire a geneticist, conduct studies that resulted in new gene therapy treatments and keep the lab running on track for a cure within the next few years.
I believe that this book, and the story behind it, will make a wonderful Holiday gift for the children in my (and your) life. If you would like to buy a copy, or contribute to this fund, just go to chocolatebarbook.com. You too can do something heroic this holiday season.
Speaking of heroic, how many of us would voluntarily face the possibility of death to save people we have never met? The book Departure by A.G. Riddle puts a group of people in just such an untenable position. I know that I hope that I am the person that would do that without a moment's hesitation, but no one can be sure how he or she will act until the occasion arises. I am both proud and nervous to say I know Arthur would jump right in. I remember being frightened to death when he explained, years ago, that he was late coming home one day because he stopped his car and attempted to stop two road raged drivers from killing each other. When you (and he) have time to think it through, it was obviously a dangerous choice...maybe the wrong choice, but the question is, when there is no time to think, what will your choice be?
Choice also plays a role in Susan Sloan's novel, Guilt by Association. In this book, written a number of years ago, the protagonist must make several choices after a "date rape" incident totally derails her life. Whether she ultimately chooses revenge or not will keep the readers' interest as the story unfolds.
Over this past month we have been facing so many choices. Which granite will go with which cabinet? Which tile will look the best? Do we upgrade our appliances? Life has become a series of choices. Somewhere in the middle of this I came to the realization that we all have the choice to accept what life throws our way or to stress over each curve ball. As long as my family is facing it together, I choose to find a smile in it all. So far it has worked perfectly, and I wish for all of you a very happy holiday (no matter which you choose to celebrate) and a new year filled with the ability to accept the results of every choice with a smile.
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