Bequest helps battle diabetes

RISK FACTORS: Researcher Elroy Aguiar and research participant Stewart McGowan; inset: Eric Sansom, who left the bequest, and Ann Lavis.

A BEQUEST of $350,000 to the University of Newcastle is helping to fund research into preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes in men.

PhD candidate Elroy Aguiar is the first researcher to be awarded the Neville Eric Sansom research higher-degree scholarship.

“In this study I’m hoping to reduce some of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes. We are trying to help these men lose weight, modify their diet and increase their exercise,’’ he said.

Type 2 diabetes is one of the fastest growing chronic diseases in Australia.

“Initially I am following 100 men for six months but I want to expand the project in the future,’’ he said.

Stewart McGowan, 53, from Lambton, is one participant in the study. Both his father and uncle suffered from the disease.

“Through this study I’ve found out simple things that I didn’t know to help me reduce my risk of getting diabetes. I’ve now lost seven kilograms and am spending a lot more time exercising with my family, including taking my son on bike rides, which he loves.’’

The early death of Eric Sansom’s son from diabetes complications was the catalyst for the bequest, to fund new research into the causes, treatment or prevention of the disease.

The University of Newcastle Foundation’s executive officer, Dr Bernie Curran, said that making a bequest to the University of Newcastle and education was not just a gift but an investment in the future.

“Each of us finds different ways to make our mark on the world.

RISK FACTORS: Researcher Elroy Aguiar and research participant Stewart McGowan.

‘‘Eric Sansom left his legacy by making this donation to the university to support something he was passionate about,’’ Dr Curran said.

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GENEROUS: Eric Sansom, who left the bequest for diabetes research.

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