I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. – Mother Teresa
NF Midwest has a small efficient staff and depends on volunteers. We also have a board of directors and a professional advisory board. If you are interested in serving in any way please contact us.
Diana has two children and a husband with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 and has been involved with the organization since 1997. She became our new executive director in 2008. Diana has a background in real estate, marketing, information technology and more. Between her now adult children and her husband, she has dealt with many of the complications of NF1. She has a real dedication to the cause and to the families and individuals dealing with neurofibromatosis and a determination to the bring a brighter future to her family and others.
Danise is a resident of Elgin, IL and has an extensive history working in the nonprofit arena. She brings her experience in fund raising, grant writing, fund development, strategic planning, organizational development and program development to NF Midwest. She has served as the Director of Development Services with the Children’s Advocacy Center of North and Northwest Cook County and as the Executive Director with both the Hanover Township Mental Health Board and the Coordinated Care Alliance. She serves of the Elgin Human Relations Commission as well as the Elgin Police Citizens Advisory Council.
Danise is excited to be bringing her motto of “Everybody knows somebody!” to her work on behalf of individuals and families impacted by NF.
Karissa works for NF Midwest part-time and started in September 2016. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communication and Media from Arizona State University online. In addition, she has a year of schooling in social work from Illinois State University. She helps with many tasks around our busy office and helps to maintain our social media and website. Karissa is also affected by NF1 herself and has been involved in the NF community for most of her life.
Gail is a founding member of NF Midwest. She also helped establish the National Neurofibromatosis Foundation which is now known as the Children’s Tumor Foundation. She is also a long-time business owner and former member of the Peace Corp.
Charles is a sales executive and is currently Director of the Central Enterprise Business Unit at Apttus.
Gordon earned his Bachelor of Business degree from the University of New Mexico and MBA from UCLA. He worked for years in finance at International Harvester, now known as Navistar. He also served eight years in the U.S. Air Force.
In his retirement years Gordon has volunteered at a number of nonprofits including the Cancer Society, U of I Master Gardner program, Geneva Historical Society, Association for Individual Development, Opportunity House and of course most notably, Neurofibromatosis Midwest.
His longtime dedication to the neurofibromatosis cause includes serving on NF Midwest’s Board of Directors in several capacities. He completed two non-consecutive terms as Board President and currently holds the position of Treasurer. In his free time Gordon enjoys gardening and the outdoors.
Denise is a mom of a child with Neurofibromatosis (NF1) and has been involved in the organization since his diagnosis. Denise has a Bachelors Degree in Biomedical Science. She is also a licensed massage therapist and Reiki Master. Currently Denise works full time in medical billing and accounts receivable for the DuPage Eye Surgery Center. Denise looks forward to helping others and raising awareness.
Ellen has no one personally affected by NF, but has a strong desire to raise awareness and support for the cause. Working with Murray Commercial in St. Charles, Ellen manages a lease portfolio in excess of $5,000,000.00 with a thoughtful approach to property management encompassing the physical asset, the financial stability of that asset and maintaining positive tenant relations.
Ellen has a bachelor of science degree from Northern Illinois University, Illinois Brokers License and achieved her Certified Property Manager Designation, CPM in 2008 from the Institute of Real Estate Management, IREM, the highest level awarded in the field of property management.
Keeping active in the community, Ellen served on the Board of Directors for the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce, on the Legislative Committee and is a member of the Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce.
Pete is currently Director of Public Relations and Marketing at Blackburn College. He has over twenty five years of experience in strategic marketing planning, identifying solutions to business needs, building organizational marketing value, and providing project management to achieve key business goals.
Pete also has a varied background in non-profit. He ran a crime commission in Eastern Iowa, which was an interagency non-profit that provided funding to various organizations throughout eastern Iowa. Pete was also executive director of the Clayville Folk Arts Guild (at a historic site west of Springfield) for three years and organized about 10 public events each year. He was also a founding member of the Summer Repertory Theatre at Blackburn and has served twelve years on the local school board.
Pete has an adult son, Sam, with NF1. In 2014, he and his family started SamJam4NF an all-day music festival in Carlinville, IL to support the NF cause.
Heather Reyes has a Master's Degree in Mathematics Teacher Leadership from Aurora University. She spent 6 years teaching middle school mathematics in East Aurora, and currently does some teaching as an adjunct professor for Aurora University while primarily focusing on raising her two young daughters, Olivia and Astrid. Olivia was diagnosed with NF-1 shortly after her first birthday, and Heather has been involved with NF Midwest ever since. Outside of working for the important NF cause, Heather enjoys baking and cooking, reading, running and walking, taking her children on excursions and is deeply involved with her church.
Lesli is a mom of a child with Neurofibromatosis (NF-1). She has been involved in the organization since 2001. Lesli is a Registered Nurse with 20 years’ experience in Hematology/Oncology nursing. She has been active in the Great Steps for NF Walks and has served on the committee for the last eight years.
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