Former Mongrel Mob member Anaru ‘Fats’ Moke is a living, breathing example of how, with enough effort, you can turn you life around – in more ways than one.
A year ago, the now 44-year-old former mobster from Lower Hutt was at a crossroads with his type-2 diabetes, which had become so bad he was at risk of going blind and losing his legs.
But now, after making a solid effort to improve his sedentary lifestyle, the odds that he will be around to see his 11 children grow up are a lot better.
When Moke was screened last year, his HbA1C (a marker for type-2 diabetes indexing blood glucose control) was at 90mmol/mol. In a healthy person, that number is below 40.
* Mongrel mobster ‘Fats’ on a mission to get fit before diabetes claims his life
* Dr Tom comes home to the Hutt
* Dr Tom promotes healthy thinking
We took a screening test last week, he was at 66mmol/mol.
“It’s like Christmas,” he said. “I was doing it for the future, for my kids, for myself. That’s the whole motivation.”
The turnaround in Moke’s life came when he met Dr Tom Mulholland and and his team at the Walter Nash Centre last year. Over six weeks he learned the importance of healthy diet and exercise, taking lessons in what to buy at the grocery store and what sort of exercise he should do.
Moke said it was the little changes that made a difference to his health, like walking his kids to school instead of driving.
He lost his own father to diabetes when he was young and didn’t want that to happen to his own family, he said.
A Lower Hutt local himself, Mulholland travels across the country in his vintage 80s Chevy V8 ambulance testing people for preventable conditions like diabetes.
Funded by the Ministry of Health and with support from Healthy Families Lower Hutt, he has been in Lower Hutt recently, administering diabetes screening tests.
“We’re going out to the community and finding people that don’t go to the doctor.”
A random diabetes test of 62 willing shoppers at Pak ‘n Save on High St on April 27 found about 25 per cent were pre-diabetic or diabetic. About half of those people had not realised the state of their health, Mulholland said.
A lot of his work was talking to people who were at risk and helping them learn how to manage their health.
As for ‘Fats’ – it might be time for him to consider a new nickname.
* To learn more about Dr Tom and his work, check out his Facebook page.