An Inventors Journey

A Free Online Newsletter
Stephen Paul Gnass, Editor Issue 001

Dear Subscribers,

Every so often we run across a story that touches us, and makes us aware of the fact that there is hope even though we may feel like we're having a rough time of it [i.e. in getting the attention of investors or finding people that will support our innovations] and feeling sorry for ourselves and down in the dumps.

Sometimes at moments like these, when we're ready to give up, along comes a story like the one that follows, that helps us put things in proper perspective. Jacob's story is a real celebration of the human spirit and how perseverance and faith can create miracles. Enjoy.

With Godspeed,
Stephen Paul Gnass, President & Executive Director of
The National Congress of Inventor Organizations (NCIO)

  • Founder of the INVENTION CONVENTION®
    P.O. Box 931881, Los Angeles, CA 90093-1881, USA
    USA: 800 458-5624 | Ca: 323 460-4408

    7-Year-Old Survivor And Inventor

    Everything has its place and no one understands that concept better than 7-year-old Jacob Dunnack of Willimantic, Connecticut. As much as Jacob feels that his place is on the baseball field, on the rare occasions when he's not outside playing, his ball has a place of it's own, safe and secure inside its bat.

    Last year after experiencing difficulty carrying both his ball and bat home from his grandmother's house, Jacob invented the JD Batball - a 22-inch baseball bat inside which baseballs can be stored.

    Within just a year after creating it, Jacob has scored a home run with the JD Batball, which is going to be sold soon through the major toy store chain Toys-R-Us.

    While most people find his accomplishment at such a young age inspiring, his mother, Elizabeth Dunnack, says that the heart of the matter literally lies in Jacob's amazing spirit and will to live.

    "You see", his mother says, "Jacob was born with a rare congenital heart disease and at four days old he had the first of a series of invasive surgeries. At 11 months old, a ten-hour open-heart surgery resulted in a serious stroke. The doctors' dismal prognosis concluded that Jacob would be blind, paralyzed and permanently disabled."

    She continues, "With a lot of hard work and loving support over many years, today Jacob has defied all the odds by not only seeing, but walking and, through his own determination and innovation, even playing baseball!"

    Even though the stroke caused Jacob to lose the use of his right hand, this didn't stop him from pursuing his favorite sport as he grew older. When he had trouble carrying both the bat and the ball home from his grandmother's house, that's when he came up with the idea of storing the ball inside the bat so that he could carry both with one hand.

    While he developed it because of his disability, as it turns out, the JD Batball is an extremely useful tool for kids across the country who play baseball, helping to eliminate the common problem of losing the ball at home and 'the dog ate the ball syndrome'. "This invention is not only going to thrill children, but also their parents!", commented Jacob's mother.

    Jacob initially unveiled his idea at the Natchaug Elementary school invention fair and Dianne Cerreto, Jacobs teacher, immediately rallied around the idea and encouraged the family to obtain a patent and start the Jacob Sportz Company.

    The JD Batball package includes the 22-inch bat and three balls. The packaging features Jacob's story, as well as thank you credits to the organizations and institutions that are so important in Jacob's life.

    Jacobs mother is extremely appreciative of all the help their family has received. "It is important to us to acknowledge all of the people and organizations that helped Jacob achieve success at such a young age, both health-wise and with this new business," explained Dunnack, "Organizations like the Connecticut Children's Medical Center, CT Children's Birth to Three and groups such as Santin Engineering, Inc, Community Economic Development Fund and ZZorco Consulting are our angels and there is no way we could have achieved Jacob's goal without the communities support and good wishes."

    Their web site:


    CAN'T is the word that is foe to ambition,
    An enemy ambushed to shatter your will;
    Its prey is forever the man with a mission
    And bows but to courage and patience and skill.
    Hate it, with hatred that's deep and undying,
    For once it is welcomed 'twill break any man;
    Whatever the goal you are seeking, keep trying
    And answer this demon by saying: "I CAN."

    An excerpt from the poem "CAN'T" by Edgar Guest


    NCIO is a non-membership, non-profit, free-for-all web site. If you're a newbie to inventing, a lot of free how-to information and resources are available at NCIO's web site, including NCIO's free Inventing 101 on-line course. You can do a preliminary patent search, find a Patent & Trademark Depository Library near you, check if a company has been fined by the FTC, read about scams, and read and print out the free "Inventing 101" on-line course.
    Go to and click "Inventors Help" button.

    If you're further along the path of inventing and are ready to launch your product, and need assistance in determining whether to license your idea or build a company around your invention, I'll be glad to offer a confidential brainstorming, no obligation, just e-mail back and please be sure to include your phone number with area code and time zone.

    Do you have a story to share, or know of an inventor on the path? Please write us and send us information by mail, e-mail or fax to:
    Attn: Editor, Inventors Journey at
    Snail mail: P.O. Box 931881 Los Angeles, CA 90093-1881

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