Winnetka resident honored for diabetes research fundraising
From left to right) Carey Pinkowski, Chicago Marathon/Shamrock Shuffle Race Director; Dr. José Oberholzer, Daley Award Winner and director of the Chicago Diabetes Project; Tim Maloney, Bank of America Illinois President; Former Mayor Richard M. Daley at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Charity Reception last month. | Contributed photo
Name: Dr. Jose Oberholzer
Known for: Director of the Chicago Diabetes Project, as well as Director of the Islet and Pancreas Transplant Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
Updated: July 29, 2012 6:46AM
For the past two years the top individual fundraiser for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon has been honored with the Richard and Maggie Daley award for their efforts in raising money for charities associated with the race.
Winnetka resident Dr. Jose Oberholzer, director of the Chicago Diabetes Project recently took the stage with the former mayor and race directors to accept recognition for his $126,800 fundraising contribution in 2011.
“Instead of just sitting in my office and complaining about not having enough money [for research] I began contacting people with a philanthropic trait and people who want to help,” said Oberholzer, director of the Islet and Pancreas Transplant Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and chief of its Division of Transplantation.
“I started an effort to support the work that we are doing [at CDP]
to find a functional cure for diabetes.”
According to its website, the Chicago Diabetes Project is “a collection ofscientists, researchers, physicians and surgeons spanning the globe who have a two-fold mission to cure diabetes.”
Based out of the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Services in Chicago, the group works with research organizations across the world to make islet-cell transplants for Type 1 diabetics safer and more accessible.
“The work Dr. Oberholzer is doing at the University of Illinois Hospital is amazing, and he’s a great athlete too,” said Carey Pinkowski director of both the Chicago Marathon and Shamrock Shuffle.
Oberholzer is the second recipient of the Richard and Maggie Daley Award. Last year’s winner, Carl Allegretti, raised $81,000 in 2010 for Children’s Memorial Hospital.
An avid runner since he was young and a seven-time marathon runner, Oberholzer realized the potential for fundraising opportunities when he began participating in the races several years ago.
While running the New York Marathon with a friend he had a revelation.
“I realized they had raised nearly $70 million through the race and I said, that’s it, that’s how we can raise money for our foundation,” he said.
Since becoming an official charity with the marathon in 2009, the “Cellmates on the Run” team has raised over $300,000 for diabetes research.
The money raised has a direct effect on the research and transplants that are done by Oberholzer and his team.
“The money is used to actually used to transplant patients because it is an experimental procedure and costs nearly $100,000 per patient,” said Oberholzer.
“Without the money from the marathon I would just be a good researcher and publish papers but it wouldn’t help towards really finding a cure.”