Marisa Breese is one of the Junior Board’s newest members who worked to help put on their largest annual event, Paint the Night Purple. The evening was packed with activities- from appetizers and an open bar, live music, silent auction, raffles, and dancing! This night was a huge success and helps inform the Junior Board on ideas for next year’s event.
Marisa works in Public Relations for an agency in Chicago, has a 5-year-old Shepherd Collie mix named Harlow, and is a PADI certified open water scuba diver. When she isn’t spending time with her friends, playing volleyball, or traveling, Marisa is an active volunteer for the Junior Board.
“Hi, I’m Marisa! I first started volunteering alongside the Junior Board in February 2019 after looking up ways to get involved with advocacy and fundraising efforts related to Alzheimer’s. On my first outing with the Junior Board, we visited Sunrise Lincoln Park – a senior living community that specializes in memory care. We chatted casually with the residents, and another Junior Board member brought art supplies to create Valentine’s Day cards. Even though we were there for only a short time, I really enjoyed being able to have a positive impact on the residents.
I was inspired to find a group like this because I felt a personal connection to the cause. My maternal grandmother, Margot Gardiner (Gramma to me) is currently living with the disease. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2017. At the time, there were only hints of the disease – she would misplace items or forget conversations. Treatment has helped keep the disease somewhat under control, but I still see a difference in her mannerisms and how she interacts with our family now. She’s always been the best grandparent – she used to be an amazing cook and seamstress, and she and my Papa (who’s taken on new roles to care for her) still try to attend every choir show, dance recital, sporting event, etc. that my cousins and I have been part of. It’s definitely been difficult for us to watch her gradually change, though, because of this awful disease. Her diagnosis is what prompted me to get involved with the Junior Board.
I’ve really enjoyed my time with the Junior Board over the past year. In the past year, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting other young professionals who all have a connection to this terrible disease, so we’re all very passionate about making an impact. So far, I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer several times at Sunrise Lincoln Park and once at Memory Rock Chicago (an annual fundraising event), and I joined the Junior Board’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s team this past October.
I was so excited to officially attend our Paint the Night Purple gala for the first time this year! I worked at the coat check as a volunteer last year, so this year was a chance to spend time with friends, family, and fellow Junior Board members at the event.”
Interested in our Junior Board? To submit an application, visit here.