Brian Tolkin

Daily Point of Light # 3580 Oct 24, 2007

Five years ago, Brian and his brother, ages 12 and 13, co-founded their non-profit, Beams and Dreams. Its mission is to provide complimentary boat outings for cancer patients, survivors and their families as respites from grueling medical challenges. To date, Brian has hosted 15 events for over 1,000 guests using $82,000 worth of donated services! As a young teen, Brian recognized the enormous burdens faced by families dealing with cancer and wanted to help ease some of their pains. Lacking history, funding and know-how, Brian's passion was nevertheless relentless as he sought resources from the community. Spending endless hours calling vendors and writing letters in an effort to procure items, Brian refused to be hindered by rejection. Brian sealed each letter with the wish: "Please believe in me and take a chance!" After months of planning, Brian finally hosted his first two events in 2003. Since then, the events have grown both in magnitude and in number. Wishing to constantly improve, Brian's events now include magicians, musicians, commemorative t-shirts, custom boat cookies, treats, decorations, barbeques, prizes, and more in addition to the main attraction: boat rides on the gorgeous waters of Lake Washington and Puget Sound.

Brian works with 11 local and national cancer-support agencies to promote his events to the greater Seattle area. After five years, Beams and Dreams has earned an excellent reputation in the community, both with vendors and participants. For the past two summers, Brian has unfortunately had a waitlist for some of his events. Since one of his goals is to be able to accommodate everyone who wishes to participate, he continues to work relentlessly, seeking additional capacity. Some of the trips have taken guests on an exquisite corporate yacht, an historical sailing vessel, wooden schooners, and brand-new, luxurious motor yachts.

Brian's sole motivation is the pleasure he derives from knowing that he is bringing much needed joy to others when they most need it. His greatest reward is conversing with the guests at the events and watching them smile as the wind blows their hair, they bounce on the waves or the magician asks them to yell, "Abracadabra." In fact, he received the tremendous honor of earning a complimentary trip for four to Disneyland from a local television station for his efforts and he promptly donated that trip to a family in the throes of treatment. When the family returned from Disneyland and shared their excitement, Brian gained immense pleasure and only wished he had more trips to donate.

Now that Beams and Dreams is well-established, it serves as an inspiration for others. Many of Brian's friends have been inspired to either donate their time to other non-profits or to even start their own. Brian's dream is to continue growing Beams and Dreams and to carry its torch nationwide.