Sir Jackie Stewart, the legendary British former Formula One racing driver, is known for his remarkable achievements on the track, winning three World Drivers’ Championships and leaving a lasting impact on the sport. However, behind this illustrious career lies a deeply personal and emotional struggle. In a tear-jerking interview, Sir Jackie Stewart opened up about his fears of dementia, acknowledging that he is already experiencing memory lapses.
He revealed that his wife, Lady Helen Stewart, had been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia nearly a decade ago. Frontotemporal dementia is a rare form of dementia that affects personality, behavior, and language. This article delves into the life of Helen Stewart, her relationship with Jackie, and their family’s fight against dementia.
Meet Helen Stewart: The Woman Behind The Champion
Helen Stewart, born in 1941, has been a constant source of support for Jackie Stewart throughout his career and life. The couple tied the knot on August 28, 1962, and have been together for over six decades. Helen, also known as Helen McGregor, is an actress recognized for her roles in various movies, including “Seven Days Too Long” (1968) and “The Wicked Die Slow” (1968). One of her notable appearances was in the film “Weekend of a Champion” (1972).
Helen Stewart’s battle with frontotemporal dementia has been extremely challenging for both her and the entire family. As the disease progressed, Helen lost her ability to walk and experienced severe memory impairment. Conversations became fleeting moments for her, and her short-term memory deteriorated significantly, necessitating round-the-clock care support.
In response to his wife’s diagnosis, Sir Jackie Stewart took decisive action to raise awareness and seek solutions for dementia. In 2018, he established the charity “Race Against Dementia,” driven by the belief that Formula 1’s technological advancements and innovative thinking could potentially accelerate progress in addressing dementia.
Know About Jackie And Helen’s Kids
Jackie and Helen Stewart’s marriage bore fruit in the form of two children, Paul Stewart and Mark Stewart. Mark pursued a career in film and television production, while Paul followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming a former racing driver who co-ran Paul Stewart Racing before selling it in 1999.
Sir Jackie Stewart’s life has been profoundly impacted by his wife’s condition, but he remains resilient and determined to support her in every possible way. He acknowledged the privilege of being able to afford seven neuro nurses to care for Helen, recognizing that many families affected by dementia struggle to access adequate support.
Details About Sir Jackie Stewart’s Legacy
Known as the “Flying Scot,” he competed in Formula One between 1965 and 1973, winning three World Drivers’ Championships and finishing as a runner-up twice. Stewart’s successes made him the only British driver to achieve three championships until Lewis Hamilton matched the feat in 2015.
Apart from Formula One, Stewart made attempts in other racing events like the Indianapolis 500 and the Can-Am series. His contributions extended beyond the track, as he played a significant role in advocating for improved safety measures in motor racing.
As Sir Jackie Stewart and his family continue to grapple with the devastating effects of dementia, they are committed to using their platform to advocate for research, awareness, and improved care for those affected by the disease. The Stewarts’ determination to find a cure and support others serves as an inspiration for many facing similar challenges.
Behind the glitz and glory of a champion’s life lies the poignant story of Jackie Stewart’s wife, Lady Helen Stewart, and her ongoing battle with frontotemporal dementia. While Sir Jackie Stewart made history on the racetrack, he now devotes his energy to raising awareness and seeking solutions for the disease that has deeply affected his beloved wife. Their journey reminds us of the urgent need to support research and caregiving for dementia, touching the lives of millions worldwide.