MIAMI, Florida (August 2, 2013) – At the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) this week, University of Miami (UM) President Donna Shalala lauded the philanthropic efforts of Walgreens Market 6 of Florida, led by Market VP and UM alumnus Roy Ripak. In just three years, this determined group has raised $1 million for the cure-focused work of the DRI, located at UM’s Miller School of Medicine. A check for $400,000, produced this year alone, was presented by Ripak and members of his hard-working team to Shalala and DRI Scientific Director Camillo Ricordi, M.D. Acting President and CEO Deborah Chodrow and VP Tom Karlya represented the DRI Foundation, which is leading UM’s Momentum2 campaign in support of the DRI.
Dr. Ricordi explained how these funds will help bring to fruition the DRI BioHub, a bioengineered “mini organ” that mimics the native pancreas. DRI Deputy Director of Translational Research Luca Inverardi, M.D. further described the work underway as he led Ripak and other Walgreens representatives on site, including Clint Smethurst, Dan Espinosa, Georgia Lehoczky and Steve Flynn, on a tour through the labs.
This year, Walgreens’ crusade to help the DRI find a cure was two-fold. The Third Annual Walk with Walgreens Family Fun Day and Health Fair, which attracted more than 6,500 community members, was held on April 20 simultaneously at Sun Life Stadium and in Port St. Lucie’s Tradition Square. And a “scannables” program occurred in Walgreens stores from Monroe County to Indian River County.
Shalala, who attended the main event, recalled, “Walgreens did a great job. It was a fun day!” Of the “scannables” program, she said that even her mother participated at her local pharmacy.
“We know it is in the right hands,” commented Chodrow, who along with the rest of South Florida has already witnessed the event’s exponential growth.
Bringing the gratitude full circle and showing his passion for the cause, Ripak shook Dr. Ricordi’s hand and said earnestly, “Thank you for all you do!”
Plans for the 2014 Walk with Walgreens Family Fun Day and Health Fair are underway. To get involved, sign up for free to join the DRI’s online community. And don’t forget to stop in at “the corner of happy and healthy.” Walgreens, after all, is the official pharmacy of the U!
The Diabetes Research Institute leads the world in cure-focused research. As the largest and most comprehensive research center dedicated to curing diabetes, the DRI is aggressively working to shrink the timeline toward the discovery of a biological cure for this disease. Having already shown that diabetes can be reversed through islet transplantation, the DRI is building upon these promising outcomes by bridging cell-based therapies with emerging technologies. The Diabetes Research Institute was created for one reason – to cure diabetes – which is and will continue to be its singular focus until that goal is reached. For the millions of people affected by diabetes, the DRI is the best hope for a cure.