This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.

The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Brave Ricksen vows to battle debilitating illness

This news post is about 9 years old

Fans fill Ibrox for former player's charity tribute

Former Rangers player Fernando Ricksen told 41,000 fans at Ibrox he wants to be the first person to conquer motor neuron disease (MND).

An emotional Ricksen told the crowd at the charity match held in his honour: “One person should be the first to defeat this terrible disease. Well, let that person be me.”

The Dutchman, who played for Rangers for six years, was diagnosed with the debilitating condition in 2013 – an illness which has been catapulted into the popular conscience after last year’s ice bucket challenge phenomenon.

Ricksen said: “At the age of 36 you don’t expect something like this to happen to you and having been a very fit and active person I always thought I would have a better chance than most of staying healthy as I got older. Unfortunately that’s not the way it works.

I want to see my daughter growing up. That's what I'm going to fight for - Fernando Ricksen

"MND strikes indiscriminately and that’s why raising awareness of the disease is so important. At present there is no cure and due to the stage I’m at now I’ll not be able to take to the pitch today which is deeply frustrating.”

He was given a guard of honour and carried aloft around the packed ground. Former team mates and international stars such as Teddy Sheringham and Darren Anderton turned out to play and Alex McLeish stepped in to boss a Rangers Select that included Andy Goram, Peter Lovenkrands and Rino Gattuso.

The match is expected to have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds, including a donation of £10,000 from Celtic. The proceeds will be split between Ricksen, his daughter Isabella, MND Scotland and the Rangers Charity Foundation.

Ricksen insisted: “I am not pitiful. Please, people, don't treat me that way.

“I want to see my daughter growing up. That's what I'm going to fight for.”