A $350,000 bequest to the University is helping a PhD student research into preventing the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

Bequest funds diabetes prevention research

PhD candidate Elroy Aguiar is the first researcher to be awarded the Neville Eric Sansom Research Higher Degree Scholarship, which will assist him with his study.

"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.

"Type 2 diabetes is one of the fastest growing chronic diseases in Australia. This is despite the fact that the majority of cases are preventable. Many men aren't aware of their level of risk.

"This scholarship will help me with this pilot study. I'm truly grateful for this support."

Elroy Aguiar 

Fifty three year old Stewart McGowan, from Lambton, is one of the participants in the study. Both his father and uncle suffered from Type 2 diabetes.

"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.

"If it wasn't for this program, I wouldn't have done anything about my diabetes risk," Stewart said.

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

Mr Sansom, who lived in Georgetown and passed away in 2010, wished to ensure his son's legacy lived on through research into this condition.

Dr Bernie Curran from the University of Newcastle Foundation said making a bequest to the University of Newcastle and education is not just a gift - it's an investment in the future

"Each of us finds different ways to make our mark on the world. Eric Sansom left his legacy by making this donation to the University to support something he was passionate about.

"Supporting research is just one way a person can leave a legacy. You can also help support students obtain an education through a scholarship or fund University projects that benefit the community," Dr Curran said.