Formula 1 racing legend, Sir Jackie Stewart, tells us all about the necessary charity work Race Against Dementia is doing for the debilitating disease…
In 2014, Sir Jackie Stewart’s wife, Helen, was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. The Flying Scot described her as his stopwatch as she would time all of Sir Jackie’s races to the millisecond. However, Helen’s short-term memory and sharp mind is now fading.
Driven by the need to find a cure, the Formula 1 racing legend now finds himself in the driving seat of Race Against Dementia, the charity he founded to raise funds for innovative dementia research.
Today, 50 million people around the world have dementia. One in three people born today will get dementia in their lifetime. Therefore, Sir Jackie wants to bring a sense of urgency.
“Starting a charity was the best way I could help,” he says. “Dementia is a global problem. It’s not territorial in any way. Yet it can be a real challenge to find people that will invest in the research. Thankfully, my sport is global and so are my contacts.”
Working faster and smarter to cure dementia!
The charity’s tagline is “working faster and smarter to cure dementia” and Race Against Dementia does this through four key principles. Hence, they source the most talented researchers from around the world, financially back them, instil a “Formula 1 attitude” in attention to detail and urgency to accelerate the pace of solutions development, and form strong alliances with research centres of excellence globally.
“This is the biggest challenge I’ve met in my life. Motor racing was easy by comparison,” Sir Jackie says. “Dementia itself is a tremendous challenge – not just for the patient, but for family and friends. It’s also the most expensive illness – it costs more to care for a dementia patient than all cancer and heart disease sufferers.
Sir Jackie says it takes seven neuro nurses to care for his wife – that’s two at a time over a 24-hour period.
“I’m lucky enough to afford that, but most people cannot. Often, family members have to give up their
jobs or pay for them to go into a care home,” he says.
“There was no question about it – I had to do something to help find a cure for dementia, and
hopefully we find it in my lifetime.”
For more information and to donate to Race Against Dementia, visit www.raceagainstdementia.com/donate
See Scotland through the eyes of Sir Jackie Stewart in The Scots Magazine’s monthly My Scotland (CLICK HERE)