Frocking up for a fabulous future

17 June 2024

When you fill a garden with a gaggle of gorgeous ladies (and one finely suited gentleman in MSWA physiotherapist Oli Guttinger), you can be certain of two things; there will be bubbles and there will be fun!

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And this well-dressed flock sure knows how to create a circle of support around the guest of honour, Noelle Grausser, who was diagnosed with MS in 2006.

Event hostess with the mostest Marlisa, Noelle’s daughter, spent weeks meticulously planning the charity event, with the funds to be donated for purpose of MS research in the hope for a brighter future for all those living, and yet to be diagnosed, with the condition.

Initially setting her sights on a $3,000 target, Marlisa smashed it out of the park with a little help from her friends to raise $4,200!

The stroke of genius was a generous offer of a 6-night stay at Marlisa’s boutique retreat hotel in Lombok, called ‘Naia’, where Noelle often helps to perform accessibility testing!

“When I saw the interest in people buying raffle tickets in the hope of winning a stay, it gave me the idea to bring an auction to my guests at the event on the day,” Marlisa said.

“The final three were bidding pretty hard against one another, so I offered it to all at the final bidding price. That in itself raised over $1,500! I was so excited.”

Marlisa said with cost-of-living pressures, fundraising was becoming an increasingly hard task, but believed it was Noelle’s inspirational attitude which spurred her guests to dig deep.

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Diagnosed the week of Christmas in 2006, Marlisa recounted the difficulty of grappling with this life changing news, while her mum defiantly hid her symptoms from the family so as not to take away from the occasion – though she was quietly struggling with the simple task of cutting up her Christmas lunch.

“They know my mum’s story; they know how strong, determined and resilient she is,” she said.

“They see how she continues to live life to her fullest and not allow MS to control her, and I think that’s why we get the support from the people around us, because they are in admiration of her strength and her capability.”

The success of the event day left Marlisa with an overwhelming sense of pride.

“The vibe of the day was electric, everyone was there because they wanted to have a good time and to show their support for mum,” she beamed.

“I just felt really proud of my mum, and of everybody who came, contributed and really invested in the day.

“It just shows that when there are tough days, people are always there in your corner backing you.

“And for the staff at MSWA to give up their time on the weekend to come along, including therapists Akiko, Yasuko, Oli and his wife Rosie, it just shows the next level of support that MSWA provides in looking after people with MS and neurological conditions – and that is a real credit."

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Marlisa emphasised the importance of continuing to find time in our increasingly fast-paced society and encouraged others to do their part.

“In this world on the back-end of COVID-19, and as we find ourselves in a financial crisis, the fact people are still willing to come together and contribute really signifies togetherness, the community feeling and offers an opportunity to build and bond,” she said.

“It is important to do these events because not only are we raising funds for a better tomorrow, but it is also an opportunity to step back and give without the expectation of receiving something in return.”

Our heartfelt thanks to Marlisa for her incredible fundraising effort, your selfless contribution means so much.

Interested in hosting your own event? Reach out to events@mswa.org.au for advice!