Formula 1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart, 84, reveals he fears he has dementia after showing symptoms, seven years after his wife contracted the disease.
It is a disease that has taken a heavy toll on the health of his beloved wife.
And now Scottish racing star Sir Jackie Stewart has said he fears he too may be showing symptoms of the same disease.
The Formula 1 legend suffered a stroke last month and said he is worried about being diagnosed with dementia.
Sir Jackie collapsed in his hotel the night before he was to be invited to Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein’s wedding in Amman.
The 84-year-old set up the Race Against Dementia (RAD) charity after his wife Helen was diagnosed seven years ago.
The three-time Formula 1 world champion said of dementia: ‘I could easily have it. I have all the ingredients for it. I’m forgetting people’s names and I’m not as smart as I used to be.
The Formula 1 legend (pictured with Helen in 1969) suffered a stroke last month and said he is worried he will be diagnosed with dementia.
The 84-year-old created the Race Against Dementia (RAD) charity after his wife Helen (pictured with Jackie in 2019) was diagnosed seven years ago.
‘If I have it, I have it. I’m still fully operational. But I’ll probably get it. Dementia is the leading cause of death in the UK.’
Lady Helen, 82, has frontotemporal dementia, diagnosed in 2016. She is cared for 24 hours a day by a team of seven neuroscience nurses.
Stewart, originally from Milton, Dunbartonshire, has described the effect of the disease on families as “horrendous”.
Lady Helen’s plight led to what he called the biggest fight of his life: setting up RAD to fund research to find a cure. He brings to the task the same enthusiasm that he brought to the transformation of safety in Formula 1.
His charity recently announced a £3.75m fund to recruit the UK’s best researchers. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, he said: “The hardest part was being told there was nothing we could do about it.”
“I didn’t know anything about dementia before Helen was diagnosed. And when I asked them, “When can we do something about it?” and they said, “I’m sorry, Jackie, we don’t have a cure for that,” that was just devastating.
‘When you’re a racing driver, everything happens very fast. In Great Britain, we are leading the world in terms of technology.
“When I compare that to going into a situation with my wife of 60 years as it is right now, I can’t believe that for something that is taking more lives than anything else in the world right now, including cancer, we are so far behind. The establishment has failed in this. That is why we turned to young PhD students to try to find the answers”.
Sir Jackie has said that he thinks his incessant travel schedule may have contributed to his mini-stroke. He returned to Britain after the Monaco Grand Prix on May 28 to speak at the funeral of Annie Meldrum, wife of the late Queen’s boss at Sandringham, before flying to Jordan.
He said: ‘He was very ill at the time of Annie’s funeral. I spoke, but not as well as I should have.
‘I followed that up with a night in Geneva and then went to Jordan. And all of that was after being in Miami for a very busy grand prix. It all added up.
Sir Jackie said physiotherapy since the stroke has led him to walk “almost unaided”.