If Melissa Theisen, ADAW Communications & Development Director, had a dollar for every hat she wears within the organization, she could fund some of our educational and support programming.
A manager, a mentor, and a marketer, Melissa (pictured far right) has been with the ADAW just over two years. Like many of the ADAW staff, she blends personal experience into her professional role within the organization.
In addition to our statewide audience, Melissa works to honor Blanche Metcalf Robinson (who was like a second mother), Ronnie (uncle and godfather) & Myrna Klaus, Romie (her uncle) & Shirley Theisen, and Herb (another uncle) and Kay Theisen.
“I didn’t understand how devastating this disease was, and how many of my close personal friends families are affected,” Melissa said. “But now I do—and I vow to do help do my part to help.”`
This personal mission helps define Melissa’s motivation in every aspect of ADAW’s development, fundraising, and messaging.
Whether it’s organizing and traveling state-wide for our Alzheimer’s Walks, managing donor campaigns, speaking with local media, working with partners (like Madison’s Ales for Alzheimer’s) working with our dementia outreach specialists to create marketing collateral, supervising an intern, or working with external consultants, Melissa’s strives to educate Wisconsin individuals and families who are affected by Alzheimer’s and by dementia.
That is a never-ending goal, Melissa explains, because we all may know someone who will develop Alzheimer’s or other dementia in the future—or someone who has it currently and is unaware.
That’s why it’s so important to maintain robust development and fundraising initiatives, Melissa explained. The ADAW Dementia Outreach Specialist (DOS) team administers our programs and services in 15 counties throughout the state.
They provide one-on-one care consultations and act as resources, and Melissa said it’s her job to provide them with the support they need.
“The DOS team is made up of kind, compassionate, patient, and caring individuals who offer a shoulder to lean on,” Melissa said. “They help families tackle the daunting to-do lists through each stage of dementia.”
At the end of the day, Melissa describes her work in two words.
“It’s humbling and enlightening.”
For more information about ADAW development, fundraising campaigns—or how to organize your own fundraiser—contact Melissa at:
Melissa.Theisen@alzwisc.org or (608) 232-3410.