Junior Board New Member Spotlight: Marisa Breese

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.

Junior Board New Member Spotlight: Joe Barron

Paint The Night Purple is an annual winter fundraiser hosted by the Alzheimer’s Association Junior Board. Through the dedicated efforts of our Planning Committee, the event brings together young professionals from across Chicago for an unforgettable evening featuring an open bar and lavish hors-d’oeuvres, a silent auction, raffle, and live entertainment. 

More than 1,000 Chicagoans come out each year and this event has quickly become the Junior Board’s largest and longest running fundraiser. Paint the Night Purple 2020 is on the horizon, and in honor of that we are featuring one of our newest dedicated Junior Board members, Joe Barron. Joe lives in Glen Ellyn with his wife Lauren, daughter Emery and two Vizlas, Gipper and Rudy. 

“Hi! I’m Joe Barron, ALZ Junior Board member since 2018.  I’m truly honored to be a part of this wonderful group of people to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s. Both of my grandmothers passed away from Alzheimer’s with one of them having lived with it for over 10 years. I now fight in their honor and for a future without Alzheimer’s.

In 2017, my wife and I started a board game company, Gray Matters Games, which donates a meaningful portion of profits to Alzheimer’s research. The last two years Gray Matters has been a sponsor for Paint The Night Purple and donated our entire line of games to the silent auction. Gray Matters also holds an annual Longest Day event of playing board games! Last year the event was held at Fair Game store in La Grange and raised over $3,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association. Nothing beats having a ton of fun while raising money for an amazing cause!

My favorite memory of PTNP has been dancing the night away the past two years to The Boy Night Band. My friends and I that attended PTNP were in high school when most of that music came out, so it felt like we were back at prom!”

To get your tickets for this exciting winter event, visit here: https://www.alzillinoisjuniorboard.org/paint-the-night-purple.html