Beyonders are people who push boundaries. They break new ground, go beyond expectations, beyond the story, and beyond the norm. They bring a new perspective and inspire others with their vision for the future to build the world they love.
Mega Construx™ celebrates what makes Beyonders special, and brings these passionate fans together in a community that drives them further, fuels their inspiration to do more, and encourages them to reach higher ground.”
Today we are sharing more about Beyonder™, Dylan Siegel who wanted to help find a cure for an extremely rare condition that affects his friend, Jonah. When Dylan was 6, he wrote a book based around the words he and Jonah use to describe something as awesome as their friendship: chocolate bar. With the help of his parents, Dylan published and sold "Chocolate Bar" to readers in all 50 states and in nearly 60 countries. Each cent raised from "Chocolate Bar" sales goes directly to a University of Connecticut research lab working to find a cure for Jonah and his rare liver disorder, glycogen storage disease type 1B. Now 10, Dylan has raised more than 1 million dollars for research. Below is more about him how he manages to Build Beyond™.
Tell us about your book, Chocolate Bar?
When I was six years old, I wrote a book called Chocolate Bar to raise money to help find a cure for my friend’s rare genetic disease. I wanted to do something big that would really make a difference. Thanks to the help of my friends and family, our school community and the press, I was able to reach people everywhere. After only 2 years, my book had sold over 30,000 copies, in all 50 states and in over 60 countries around the world and raised over 1 million dollars. And even more amazing than that, is the news is that my friend's doctor and his team at the University of Connecticut Children’s Hospital have identified a cure for Glycogen Storage Disease and are now working toward ending the disease forever.
What inspires you to challenge the status quo and Build Beyond?
I love to come up with ideas and build new things. I am inspired by problems that are hard to fix. I think there is always a solution – it just takes a lot of hard work and perseverance. Even when people think you are crazy and tell you that you can’t do something, there is always a way. You have to find people who believe in you and want to help and keep asking them until they say yes.
What has been the most exciting part of Chocolate Bar?
Creating Chocolate Bar and helping my friend and lots of other kids around the world has been an amazing experience. I had no idea that my words and drawings could inspire people and even change the world. I visited another boy in a hospital with the same disease as my friend, who was very sick. He had my book on his bed and his family said it was his favorite book and that it gave them all hope that he would be better. That was an amazing feeling.
I have also had the opportunity to travel across the country and speak to lots of people at schools, companies, and organizations. It is really exciting to stand in front of 1000s of people and share my story.
And I got to meet the CEO of Hershey and speak at Hershey’s annual global marketing conference in Atlanta! How Chocolate Bar is that?
What do you see yourself doing next?
Right now, I am in this amazing entrepreneur program called Founder’s Bootcamp. It is the first High School level accelerator of its kind. I am the only ten year old so it’s a little intimidating but I am hoping that by the end of this summer program I will have a brand new start up. It’s in early stages but I am very excited about it!
Of course, I want to keep supporting the efforts to cure Glycogen Storage Disease until the research and clinical trials are completed.
Where can we learn more about Chocolate Bar?
People can learn more about Chocolate Bar, see videos and pictures and even give by visiting our website at ChocolateBarBook.com. Don’t forget to follow us!
What tips or suggestions do you have for future Beyonders?
If I had one piece of advice for kids of ANY age, it would be to not be afraid to set big goals. You can accomplish big things if you believe in yourself and you show people that you are serious. My goal with the book was to raise a million dollars and people thought I was crazy but then I learned about that word persevere. I worked really hard, told anyone that would listen about my book and my goal and kept pushing forward. You should also not be afraid to ask for help. There are people in your life who will help you and believe in you. When you set a goal and tell yourself and the world that you can do it, you find a way to make it happen.
Looking beyond, where do you see the world (or yourself) in 10-15-20 years?
Looking beyond, I see the world being a place where kids are empowered to do great things and make change. I think when you are young, you are creative and fearless and have power beyond your imagination.
In ten years I hope I will be in college and running my own company. My goal is to create things that make life easier and more enjoyable for people. And I will always want to give back to people who need it.