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The Extraordinary Impact of Giving

Making a bequest to diabetes research is an extraordinary act that can make a life-changing difference to the health of those you love – and millions of people across the world.

In the past 10 years at Diabetes Research WA*, we’ve been able to raise an amazing $4.5 million for research into all forms of diabetes thanks to the generosity of community members committed to changing the future for those with – or yet to develop – diabetes.

With no government funding for our work, we’re largely indebted to those who leave us a gift in their will. Of the $4.5 million raised over the last decade, more than half has come from bequests, meaning 50% of our successes are thanks to this form of giving. Last year, we were overwhelmed when West Australian Lurline Giles left us half of the proceeds of the sale of her home – an incredible $800,000 donation to our groundbreaking research projects.

An extraordinary impact
Our organisation is deliberately small, ensuring 80% of the funds we receive are directed into research. Some of the extraordinary findings we have contributed to include:

  • The international discovery of more than 40 genes causing type 1 diabetes
  • Research showing type 2 diabetes can dramatically affect the everyday thinking skills of up to 1 in 3 adults aged 60 and older
  • Identifying how to produce pancreatic insulin-secreting beta cells from precursor cells
  • A way of predicting the risk of certain diabetes complications at the time of diagnosis, many years before symptoms develop, using genetic information.
  • Showing that lupin-supplemented diets have beneficial effects in protecting against type 2 diabetes-related traits
  • Discovering 6 subtypes of type 1 diabetes and 3 type 2 diabetes subtypes, which pave the way for helping prevent diabetes complications

Your bequest
Including a bequest or leaving a gift to a charity in your Will is a way of supporting a cause that’s important to you when you are no longer able. But what happens to that gift once your estate has been finalised?

We strive to direct bequeathed funds towards diabetes research as quickly and effectively as possible – that is, we do our best to invest all of the money we are left into research, rather than simply investing the interest those funds generate.

The last two substantial bequests we received were used to establish a $450,000 funding program – with six important WA research projects receiving $75,000 over three years. It’s not widely known that one of the key issues affecting Australian scientists is uncertainty of funding for their research; bequests help ease this pressure and ensure our finest minds can spend their time doing what they do best – looking for better treatments and cures for disease. The process involved in allocating funding to a new research project is governed by the Diabetes Research WA Medical Advisory Panel comprising a small group of professional specialists working in the field of diabetes.

Bequests have also been used to fund scholarships and research staff at WA’s world-leading Centre for Diabetes Research.

Why diabetes?
Every five minutes, another Australian is diagnosed with some form of diabetes and, globally, a person dies from the condition every six seconds. The statistics are devastating – and with all forms of diabetes on the rise, we are in vital need of continued support.

Diabetes is a global epidemic and one of the greatest health challenges of our time. It’s Australia’s fastest growing chronic condition and costs the nation $14.6 billion a year.

How to be extraordinary
If you’re considering supporting us by way of a gift from your estate we recommend you consult a solicitor or financial advisor so that your wishes are correctly included/named in your Will.

For those who have already supported us in so many ways – or will do so in the future – thank you.

*Business name for the Diabetes Research Foundation of WA Inc.

diabetes research logoDetails are available on our website You can also contact our executive director Sherl Westlund at or on (08) 9224 1006 for further information.

About the author

Alana Lowes

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