In Pursuit of Dreams


“If I can do it, you can do it!” This was Marian Brickner’s response when she was asked what message she wanted to give to people just before she headed to France to fulfill her dream. This 77-year-old single, retired, mother of six approached Karen Hoffman, the founder of Gateway to Dreams, less than four months prior to her departure.

Marian’s desire was to complete her documentary about the family of a bonobo named Lucy which had been relocated from the United States to Romagne, France. She’s been capturing the story of Lucy’s family for four generations, and Lucy had recently given birth to another bonobo, a new part of this captivating lineage. Marian knew she had to get to France to conclude her documentary, but finances and other obstacles stood in her way.  Regardless of the challenges, she decided to pursue her dream and encourages others to do the same.

As a professional animal photographer, Marian believes every life has a story worth sharing, especially the bonobo, a type of endangered great ape, which is the closest existing relative to humans. An artist of images, Marian simply wants to get to know the individual in front of the camera. This stems from her deep appreciation for all life, regardless of shape, size, or species. Marian “uses her camera to pay respect to the life in front of her.”  Marian’s desire is to bring awareness of these endangered individuals to the world and to hopefully preserve their life by sharing the story of Lucy the bonobo and her family.

After giving a presentation at Gateway to Dreams, where Marian shared her desire with a group of fellow dreamers, she was able to get to France. In less than three months, forty-four people supported her by contributing over $3,000 to fund her trip.  Upon returning in mid-September, Marian happily reported that the trip had gone very well and that she had captured some amazing photos. She recently published some of them in her latest book, Bonobo Lucy and Her Baby Yuli, and is available for speaking engagements to educate and inspire others.

When asked about her thoughts on Gateway to Dreams, Marian replied, “Dreams are so important, and they impact so many people. The ability to feel safe enough to dream is paramount to our well-being.” Marian Brickner is not only a dreamer and respecter of all life but an inspirational world-changing person, and her message is, if she can do it, so can you!

Perhaps you have a dream, or maybe a longing to realize your dream, but are not quite sure how to go about making all the pieces fall into place.  Gateway to Dreams believes if you share your dreams with others, then others will help make your dreams come true. Time and time again, people like Marian have witnessed this very truth with the support of this nonprofit organization. If you would like help uncovering your dream, or need assistance in making your dream a reality, Gateway to Dreams is the place for you!

To give feet to your dreams, feel free to call 636-536-7700 for an appointment, check out the calendar of events online at http://www.gatewaytodreams.org, and definitely attend the DREAMFEST, held the third Thursday of each month from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., at 97A Chesterfield Mall, Chesterfield, Missouri 63017. See you there!

– Submitted by Brigitte Ranae, Certified Life Coach, President of Ready to Live Inc., and Owner of Experience Beauty Salon & Spa

Further Links:

* Visit Marian’s website to see some of her wonderful pictures of bonobos or watch this short documentary

* Interested in purchasing one of Marian’s books?

*  Learn more about the coaches at Gateway to Dreams

* Read about reasons you should follow your dreams and ways to stay strong when it may be hard to do

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