Board of Directors

Nick Shields, Founder & President

Nick, the founder of Green Balloon Foundation, is the son of Sandra Gay Shields who passed away from Alzheimer’s disease and who inspired Green Balloon Foundation. He helped care for his mother, saw the impact of the deadly disease and understands the mental and financial toll dementia can have on an entire family. Nick received a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also received his master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. For more on Nick’s story, click here.

Susan Frick, Treasurer

Susan received her undergraduate degree in psychology and sociology from Elmhurst College. She received her master’s degree in social work from Loyola University of Chicago. She has worked at Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center for 12 years. She helps coordinate a variety of training programs for staff of residential care facilities who work with people who have Alzheimer’s disease. She co-facilitates Without Warning, a monthly support group for individuals and families who live with early-onset Alzheimer’s. She also works with patients and families in the Rush Memory Clinic and has presented at many national and local conferences. She has worked in the field of Alzheimer’s disease since 1987.

Sherri Pugh, Secretary

As the sister of Sandra Shields, Sherri has firsthand experience with Alzheimer’s disease and its effect on families. Sherri works as a teacher.

Nickles Shields

Nickles is the former husband and primary caregiver of the late Sandra Gay Shields. As such, he has firsthand experience with Alzheimer’s disease and understands the mental and financial toll it can have on an entire family. Now retired, Nickles worked at the US post office.

Danielle Arends

Danielle has her MSN, RN and CNP. She is a certified gerontological nurse practitioner. She received her master’s degree in gerontological nursing and completed requirements for her nurse practitioner certification from Rush University. She is certified as a nurse practitioner through the American Nurses Credentialing center. Danielle is a member of both the Chicago Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses (CGAPN) and the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association (GAPNA). She has over 15 years of experience working with older adults in a variety of settings including hospital, home care, wellness and outpatient. Danielle is a co-manager of the Rush Memory Clinic and, in collaboration with Memory Clinic physicians, she provides comprehensive follow-up care for patients with Dementia and for their families. She leads educational support groups for families and has been a speaker for several groups in the Chicagoland area. She is currently a facilitator and program developer for Without Warning, an educational support program tailored for individuals with younger onset Alzheimer’s disease and their families.

Carrie Jackson

Carrie Jackson is a Certified Dementia Practitioner and has a bachelor’s degree in communication from DePaul University in Chicago.  She has been passionate about Alzheimer’s advocacy, fundraising, and education since losing her father to the disease in 2012. Carrie is on the Junior Board of the Alzheimer’s Association, is an Advocacy Ambassador, and was the Chair of Recruitment for the 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer’s.  She teaches dementia training courses and has spoken at conferences, fundraisers, and town hall meetings. Carrie is a published author and has written extensively about her experiences with her father. Her story about her father was most recently published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer’s & Other Dementias. She is involved with Midwest Palliative & Hospice Care and Life Matters Media, and actively promotes end of life discussions and planning.  She is a freelance writer.