New Fernando Ricksen book to support Foundation

Thu 7th May 2020

Coming soon: the book Fernando Ricksen The Final Battle – Life with MND. The story of a brave footballer’s fight against a deadly disease, with some proceeds going towards the Rangers Charity Foundation.

Rangers legend Fernando Ricksen had only three wishes when he was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease (MND), in 2013.

1. To be the first person to beat the disease.

2. To see Rangers become champions of Scotland again.

3. To have a book about his battle with MND.

His first two wishes didn’t come true, but the third one did, albeit posthumously. So on June 22, in the run up to Global MND Awareness Day, there will be FERNANDO RICKSEN: THE FINAL BATTLE. Life with MND.

“A book about a lost fight and shattered hope,” says author Vincent de Vries, who witnessed the inescapable decline of his friend from nearby. For years he kept a diary, on Ricksen’s request.

Because no matter how hopeless it may have seemed - doctors gave Ricksen just four months - that didn’t mean he ever surrendered. The Rangers legend fought the disease the way he played soccer: he went in with his leg stretched out. 

“Typically Fernando”, says Veronika Ricksen, his widow and co-author of the book. “That's why he insisted on this book. To show that you should never give up. That you always have to keep fighting. And that no matter how shaky the future may be, it is still possible to live, to love and to be happy”.

The result is a penetrating and intimate portrait of a man who looked death in the eyes for six long years.

Part of the proceeds will go to The Rangers Charity Foundation, which continued to support Ricksen in all sorts of ways, for many years. De Vries: “We are happy that we can do something in return. We can finally thank the Rangers family for all they have done for Fernando in his fight against MND.”

Connal Cochrane, Director Rangers Charity Foundation, said: “Fernando was the first player I met after joining the Rangers Charity Foundation in 2005 and since then I always appreciated his support of the Foundation, his humour and charisma and of course his footballing talent.” 

“Keeping in touch with Fernando during his illness was a privilege but also heart-wrenching and I will always admire his strength, sense of purpose and humility in the face of such a personal challenge.  The Foundation is very grateful to be receiving a donation through the publication and sales of this book and to know that Fernando’s legacy will still be helping us to help others.”

* FERNANDO RICKSEN THE FINAL BATTLE - Life with MND will be available online from June 22, but reservations can already be made via www.fernandothebook.com.

Fernando Ricksen | The Final Battle - Life with MND | Vincent de Vries & Veronika Ricksen | 9789082301618 | £16.99 | 22 june 2020