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!”
This will be my fourth Paint the Night Purple event I am attending as a board member. This event is so special to me because it is an opportunity to pay tribute to my loved ones who are, or were, affected by Alzheimer’s.
I got involved in this cause originally because of my grandmother on my father’s side. She passed away from Alzheimer’s when I was only 8 years old. Being so young, I was so confused by Alzheimer’s and dementia in general. I couldn’t understand how someone could not know or remember who you are, especially their own children and grandchildren. It was very traumatizing to me and extremely upsetting to our whole family. Even years later my family on my father’s side hasn’t quite been the same. I will never forget the way I felt after visiting my grandmother, we called her Nanny, shortly before she passed, and that was the main reason I vowed to one day get involved in this cause- not only to better understand it, but to help find a treatment or prevention to one day end this awful heart-wrenching disease.
Within this past year, my grandmother on my mother’s side has taken a turn for the worse. She has trouble remembering things, and it seems to be getting progressively worse. As she lives in Ohio and I’m in Chicago, I don’t get to see her as often as I’d like, but every time I go home I make sure to see her and my grandfather and help them with getting groceries, cleaning, or driving them to doctor’s appointments – whatever is needed.
I participate in the Junior Board and with this event because it’s one positive side of all this gloom and heartbreak. It’s also the biggest event the Junior Board puts on and our big night to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter, which goes to research and finding a cure to end Alzheimer’s once and for all.
I love PTNP because it’s a seamless event. Everyone who has a hand in this event is so impressive and so hard working, and no one is doing it for the credit, but rather because this cause means so much to them and they want to do their part. Each and every year I’m more impressed by the event and so thankful to be a part of it. I’ve convinced many friends and colleagues to attend and each and every one of them has said they look forward to attending next year’s event and that they can’t wait. It’s also a fun excuse to dress up and drink champagne, while also doing good and giving back to the community.