Ben Beale & family

Ben BealeLaboratory

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute (VCCRI) is proud to announce the establishment of the Ben Beale Laboratory in Cardiovascular Research.

19 January 2022

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute has joined forces with the family of Ben Beale, a father of five from Perth who tragically passed away from a heart attack in 2017.

Ben was just 47 years old and unaware he was suffering from atherosclerosis, which is known as the ‘silent killer’ because there are often no apparent symptoms.

To save thousands of other families from heartache in the future, a new laboratory at the Institute’s centre at the University of Western Australia is being established to accelerate new treatments for cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis.

The scheduled opening date of the Ben Beale Lab is 24 April, 2022 representing the five-year anniversary of Ben’s passing.

Ben’s wife Sarah is urging West Australians to join the Group of Hearts to fund the much-needed research. Sarah says:

“Ben was at the peak of his fitness and health and had no idea he was suffering from a disease which takes far too many lives.

"Scientists at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute are beginning to unravel what causes atherosclerosis and we hope that in the future we will be able to prevent other families going through such unnecessary heartache.

“We would of course love Ben to still be with us, but this would be an incredible and lasting tribute to the best father in the world and a caring and generous husband who was loved by so many people.”

Ben Beale family

Ben suffered a heart attack when he was on a family holiday and out running. He had been medically cleared for a charity boxing match just a week before and his death was originally described as a ‘one-off catastrophic event’.

But an investigation of Ben’s medical history by Professor Jason Kovacic, the Executive Director of the Institute and a world expert on atherosclerosis, shed new light on what potentially caused Ben’s heart attack. Professor Kovacic was able to identify the possibility that Ben had an increase in a cholesterol-related particle called Lipoprotein(a), or “Lp(a)” for short, which raises the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Levels of Lp(a) are strongly determined by genetic factors. This means that Ben’s five children can now be tested for their levels of Lp(a) and be monitored closely.

But there is no still cure for atherosclerosis. Ben’s family and our scientists across the country are determined to change that.

Our scientists have identified critical pathways that are key in driving this build-up of plaque that leads to the hardening of the arteries.

This world-first research has the potential to pave the way for new treatments that would effectively ‘deactivate’ this pathway before it can cause devastating damage like a heart attack.

Professor Livia Hool, who heads the Institute’s research centre in WA, says: “The aim is to stop this disease from occurring in the first place. That would be transformative in the treatment of heart disease.

“Millions of people lose their lives to cardiovascular disease each year around the world. I’m incredibly proud to be working with Sarah and her family to try and change that and drive research from Western Australia that could have a global impact.
Sarah Beale Livia Hool in Lab

How you can help

1. Become a Group of Hearts Philanthropist

We’re looking for sponsors, local WA businesses, and philanthropic partners who can help us reach our goal of launching the Ben Beale Laboratory. Please fill out our Group of Hearts contact form and our Western Australia Senior Philanthropy Manager, Andrea Dawber will reach out to you.

2. Make a donation in memory of Ben Beale

Every bit counts, and your contribution will help us reach our goal sooner! Donate today and help us launch the Ben Beale Laboratory!

3. Share this story with your networks

If you know someone who’s in a position to help us make the Beale family’s legacy happen, please share this story with them. Share this story via social media and email.

4. Contact Andrea Dawber

If you’d like to learn more about the campaign and different ways you can help, please contact:

Andrea Dawber
Senior Philanthropy Manager, Western Australia
P: 0407 554 304

Alternatively, please fill out our Group of Hearts contact form for more information, and have Andrea reach out to you.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute - The Home of Heart Research for 30 Years