Sir Jackie Stewart: ‘Establishment’ has failed to find a cure for dementia

He believes young people will be the ones to find the cure.

15 June 2022

Former motor racing hero Sir Jackie Stewart said the establishment has “failed” to find a treatment for dementia and he is turning his hopes to youth to find the cure.

Speaking to the PA news agency in Edinburgh on Wednesday, Sir Jackie said he is determined to find the cure for the disease his wife, Lady Helen Stewart, was diagnosed with in 2014.

“Dementia is a horrible illness,” he said.

“For 50 years, there has been no cure for dementia. Now I want to change that in my lifetime if possible, and that’s asking a lot.”

He believes young people will be the ones to find the cure because “the establishment has failed” and is enthusiastic about the work being done by the PhD students sponsored by his charity.

He added: “We think that it’s youth that’s going to do it because the establishment have failed.

“So it’s got to be young people who are going to look at it in a different way a different angle, and find a cure and with the support that we have, financially, we can spend more money on getting equipment that previously has been unavailable. So that’s part of the need to do events such as race against dementia.”

The three-time Formula 1 world champion is in Scotland for the Sir Jack Stewart Classic taking place at Thirlestane Castle in Lauder, Scottish Borders on June 18-19.

The event will raise money for Sir Jackie’s charity Race Against Dementia, which was set up in 2018.

He said: “I’ve got my Formula One car, the Matra was a French car and then two Ford cars that are there as well.

“They’re on display. It’s looking very good. The weather apparently is going to be nice as well. Which is always the case in Scotland anyway.”

He will be joined by Lady Helen, who he has been happily married to for 60 years, who acted as his timekeeper when he was professionally racing. He said she was one of the “best in the world” at the time.

Frost Summer Party Fundraiser 2016 – London
Sir Jackie and Lady Helen Stewart (Ian West/PA)

Race Against Dementia, Sir Jackie revealed, funds PhD students to research the condition. He said: “What we do is we buy young PhDs all over the world, from Australia to America to China to Holland.

“So we are picking up young PhDs, young professors.

“It’s only the best medical centre that you want to be taking the top graduate from.

“We’re picking out the most talented in the world. We’ve got great support great financial support for it.”

The three-time World Champion said: “It’s a challenge, but then I’m used to challenges. I have been challenging all my life.”

Despite this, Sir Jackie is optimistic his work will find a cure or treatment for the condition.

“I wouldn’t have thought I was going to win the world championship when I started in motorsport. But I did win the world championship three times.” he said.

His ear is close to the ground on the latest developments and research around the disease.

“The latest statistic says that for everyone born today, one in three people will have dementia and there is no cure,” he revealed.

“For over 50 years, there’s been no cure. So we’ve got to change that. So we’re using Formula One to change it.”

Sir Jackie believes the medical profession has failed to find a cure but there are “no problems, only solutions”.

He said: “The brain is by far the most complicated piece of kit in the world. So I understand that it’s no easy trick. But who was it that said there are no problems there are only solutions?”

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