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Philip George Neal (1950-2011), a dairy farmer from South Gippsland in Victoria, has made an extremely generous bequest to support stem cell research at the Centre for Eye Research Australia.
Born in 1950 in Buffalo, Victoria, Philip was interested in animals and farming from a young age.
While working as a dairy farmer in December 1980, Philip suddenly found it very hard to read a telephone book. Philip had developed Optic Atrophy caused by a sudden degeneration of the optic nerve.
In 1983, despite his limited vision, he began a tertiary course in a Diploma of Applied Science in Agriculture as a mature age student. Despite his vision loss, Philip developed keen computer skills and began investing in the share market.
According to his cousin Bob Neal, Philip was a fiercely independent man and always made the most of his situation in life.
Before he died, Philip made the generous decision to bequeath the greater portion of his estate to benefit medical research in specific areas, namely heart research, cancer research and eye stem cell research.
“I am overwhelmed by the generosity shown by Philip and wish I had the chance to thank him during his lifetime,” said CERA Managing Director Professor Jonathan Crowston.