Chicago Diabetes Project director honored with Mayor Richard M. Daley and Maggie Daley Award
Unless it’s because you crossed the finish line first or won your age group, it’s unlikely that you’d receive an award for running (correct me if I’m wrong). And when you do receive race-day honors, chances are that you’re still wearing your sweaty shorts and singlet, your hair is tousled from your speedy efforts, and your Sunday’s best attire is at home, hanging in your closet.
But when you’re named the recipient of the Mayor Richard M. Daley and Maggie Daley Award, all of these perceptions go out the window. Just ask Dr. José Oberholzer, the charismatic director of the Chicago Diabetes Project, who was honored with the second annual award Tuesday night. The race he ran to receive this honor, the 34th Bank of America Chicago Marathon, was more than seven months ago—and now runners are lacing up their shoes to begin training for the 35th edition. He didn’t finish first in terms of the clock—though he’s no slouch on the run and has some sub-three-hour marathons to his name. And the charity reception in the tent outside Park Grill, where the award was presented, wasn’t exactly a come-in-your-shorts-and-sneakers affair.
Oberholzer was honored for raising more than $125,000 with his team, Cellmates on the Run, for the Chicago Diabetes Project, which is a collaboration of scientists, researchers, physicians and surgeons dedicated to curing diabetes. Global in scope, Oberholzer has brought this motley crew together with some of the funds he and the team have raised running the marathon. Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley joined race director Carey Pinkowski and Bank of America Illinois President Tim Maloney in presenting the award, which was established in 2010 to honor the Bank of America Chicago Marathon participant who raised the most funds for charity.
“Dr. José Oberholzer and the Chicago Diabetes Project embody the charitable spirit and community focus of the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle and Bank of America Chicago Marathon,” said Maloney. “It’s an honor to present this award to José, as he oversees a project in Chicago that is committed to advancing diabetes research, and to ultimately finding a cure for a disease that more than 1.3 million people in the United States are diagnosed with each year.”
What’s equally as impressive is two-fold. Cellmates on the Run has only been an official marathon charity since 2009, raising roughly $300,000 through three years of marathon fundraising efforts. And Dr. Oberholzer is not only the director of the Chicago Diabetes Project, but he also holds a number of titles at the University of Illinois at Chicago: director of the Islet and Pancreas Transplant Program, chief of its Division of Transplantation, and associate professor of surgery, endocrinology and diabetes, and bioengineering. Um, one question, Dr. Oberholzer: How do you find time to run?