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Joseph Nozzolillo Memorial Foundation Surpassed $85,000 in Fundraising for UMass Chan Diabetes Center of Excellence Research

The Joseph “Nuzzy” Nozzolillo Memorial Foundation added a $25,000 donation to their ongoing support of the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence (DCOE), raising their five-year fundraising total to $85,560.  The 5th annual Nuzzy Memorial Golf Tournament and third “Rockin’ for Nuzzy” concert were held by Joe's family and friends who are grateful for the care he received, and optimistic about the diabetes research taking place at the UMass Chan DCOE.

Each year their fundraising has surpassed the previous year as their events continue to grow.  Despite the pandemic, they raised $20,560 in 2021 and $17,500 in 2020.  Their first two golf tournaments in 2018 & 2019 net $10,000 and $12,500 respectively.

In Their Own Words

 Joe Nozzolillo Foundation 2021

Joe Nozzolillo was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just after his 10th birthday.  He had a wonderful relationship with his diabetes care team at the UMass Memorial DCOE, although he had a difficult time keeping his blood sugars within target range.  Joe developed severe diabetic neuropathy and other health complications as a result of his diabetes.  He passed away at the tragically young age of 31. 

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Joe (right) with his sister and brother

Over the past five years Joe's family and friends toured the UMass Chan DCOE research labs in Worcester and met with scientists.  They learned about diabetes research at UMass Chan Medical School in conjunction with clinical studies taking place across campus at UMass Memorial’s Ambulatory Care Center, where Joe was a patient.

“We had no idea all of this cutting-edge diabetes research was taking place in Worcester,” said Joe’s sister Leah during her first laboratory tour.  The money raised by the “Nuzzy” Memorial Foundation is directed towards type 1 diabetes research at the UMass Chan DCOE.  “We knew my brother’s care team was excellent, but the more we learn about the research, the more hopeful we are that we’ll one day see a cure for type 1 diabetes!”

“We wanted the money we raise to stay local and help other people being treated for diabetes at UMass,” said Joe’s brother Jonathan.  “We appreciate all they did for him.”

In Their Own Words

Nuzzy Memorial Golf Tournament
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2019 donation presented by Joe's family & friends to Diabetes Center of Excellence co-directors Dale Greiner, PhD (left) and David Harlan, MD (red sweater) 
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Michael Brehm, PhD, gave Joe's family & friends a tour of the
UMass Chan Diabetes Center of Excellence research labs in 2018

Michael Brehm, PhD, who also lives with type 1 diabetes (T1D), showed them around the labs and explained the research taking place at UMass Chan, where scientists recently uncovered new insights into T1D development.  

This year, Dr. Harlan explained the JDRF Research Collaboration in New England, of which he was recently appointed the Director.  "We greatly appreciate the Nuzzy Memorial Foundation and their volunteers for their ongoing support," said Dr. Harlan. 

“The average person doesn’t get to see how much incredible research is happening in our own backyard, working to put an end to diabetes,” added Jonathan.   

"Joe’s family and friends know all too well the serious health complications that uncontrolled blood sugars cause," added Dr. Harlan.  "I thank them for coming together in Joe’s name to support our DCOE mission and bringing us closer to our ultimate goal of a world without diabetes." 

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