survivor

Survivor tackles university study at 64 years

UNCLE Greg Eaton is a survivor of lymphatic cancer, open heart surgery and being hit by a train. Now, with an attitude that every day is a bonus, he is embarking on higher education challenge to help save the environment.

The 64-year-old Aboriginal Elder from the Tagalaka people of North Queensland calls the Fraser Coast home and recently graduated from University of Southern Queensland’s Indigenous Higher Education Pathways Program (IHEPP).

Uncle Greg said the six-month IHEPP program served as a stepping stone for him to enrol in the Bachelor of Science (Environment and Sustainability), starting next month.

“Every 10 years I like to do something different and my children (aged 22, 29 and 32 years) have inspired me to start university,” the former Youth Justice program development officer said.

“My son works in civil engineering, one daughter is working for Queensland Health after completing a diploma in childcare, and my youngest daughter has completed a university degree in criminology and graduates in March.

“I also have a cousin who is studying at USQ Toowoomba and urged me to choose this university.”

Taking up tertiary studies at 64 years of age isn’t fazing Uncle Greg who is no stranger to challenges.

“In 1996 when I had open heart surgery for a triple bypass they found I had lymphatic cancer. They had to fix my heart before I could have chemotherapy.

“I’m now in remission but still have major problems with my spine from an accident in 1975 when I was hit by a train. I was coming home from work in the back of a truck. It was a drizzly afternoon and the driver didn’t see the train coming.”

Photo: USQ’s Leah Jackat (right) congratulates Aboriginal Elder Uncle Greg Eaton on graduating from the IHEPP program tomorrow.
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