The F1 racing legend is determined to help fund research into a cure to help those affected by dementia.
He’s best known for being a three-time Formula 1 racing champion and keen lover of tartan, but now Sir Jackie Stewart has decided to apply the tech wizardry and research of racing car driving into finding a cure for dementia.
His wife, Lady Helen Stewart, was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (Pick’s disease) two years ago, but refuses to accept her diagnosis. She has impaired mobility, and requires round-the-clock care support to help with everyday tasks. Sir Jackie rarely leaves her as her short-term memory is so bad that when he’s not there, she can’t remember where he is.
Her short term memory is shot – she never remembers where I am even after I repeatedly tell her,’ says Sir Jackie. ‘That is where the frustration lies to be honest with you. It is so difficult to explain.’
He’s set up the charity Race Against Dementia to help raise money to fund research into dementia.
‘I have watched Helen change before my very eyes for the last two years,’ says Sir Jackie. ‘My wife was the original pit lane girl, my professional stopwatch – timing my laps to the millisecond. Her razor sharp mind was one of the things I immediately fell in love with, and it is her mind that is vanishing.
‘Coming from an industry where pioneering engineering is at its best, I believe that by investing in innovative and collaborative research we will accelerate the identification and development of drugs with the potential to transform lives.’
Sir Jackie and Lady Helen were childhood sweethearts have been married for 54 years. They have two sons (one of which has worked in motor racing) and nine grandchildren.
‘This is the biggest personal challenge of my life and I will make sure that whilst I am still on this earth, I put all my efforts into finding a cure for this horrendous illness,’ says Sir Jackie.
‘I want to make sure I can do all I can to help millions of people around the world end this heartache. It’s now personal. I am putting a million pounds of my own money in because we have got to find a cure.’
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Source: Telegraph.co.uk, inews.co.uk, Express.co.uk