Jason Tolkin, a junior at Mercer Island High School, formed a nonprofit corporation called “Beams and Dreams” that organizes free boat outings for cancer patients and their families.
After hearing many stories about cancer patients and their grueling battles from his mother, a long-time volunteer with Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Jason decided to share with them his passion for boating.
“It never ceases to amaze me how refreshed and invigorated everyone aboard feels after even a short outing,” said Jason, “It seemed to be a natural fit to somehow combine the boating spirit with Hutch patients.”
Jason incorporated Beams and Dreams, and then with his brother’s help, he persuaded a large boat dealer and a marina to provide vessels for his outings, borrowed life preservers from a local retailer, and began reaching out to cancer patients and survivors. Jason also provided his guests with custom T-shirts and cookies.
Over the past three years, Jason has hosted nine outings for cancer patients and their families, totaling more than 400 guests. Several families told him that it was the first day in a long time that they had spent together outside a hospital setting.
“If I can help provide cancer patients and their families with a short respite from their horrific medical challenges, then I have added joy to the lives of those who need it the most,” said Jason.