FORMER Rangers defender Fernando Ricksen has spoken out about his daily fight against motor neurone disease as he gets ready to launch his own clothing line.
The 38-year old announced his diagnosis in October 2013 shortly after his playing career came to an end.
I know what makes me feel bad and good so that makes it easier to live. Every day I learn something different and do something new.Fernando Ricksen
MND is also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and is a neurological disorder which can cause muscle weakness, difficulty with speech, and wasting of the muscles.
Ricksen appeared at a MND benefit game at Ibrox in January this year and was visibly restricted in his movement.
However, despite previously being told he had 15 months to live, Ricksen is bravely fighting his condition every day and tackles his daily limitations with the same determination which marked out his tenacious character on the football field.
“I feel good,” Ricken told the Daily Record. “I’m going to be here for a long time.
“I’ve had the illness for one-and-a-half years, coming up soon to two, and we’ve identified problems along the way.
“I found things very hard at first but I’m learning to live with it now and starting to accept it.
“I know what makes me feel bad and good so that makes it easier to live. Every day I learn something different and do something new.
“A lot of it is about determination. That’s why some people live longer with MND and I feel better now than I have.
“I’m trying to deal with this with the same approach I had on the football pitch, and I have to push myself every day.”
The former Dutch international won seven honours with Rangers in six years at Ibrox. Now he’s looking forward to the challenge of the fashion world as he looks to launch his own clothing line.
While he wouldn’t mind leaving a cash cow to help with his family’s future, Ricksen insists that’s not the motivation behind the venture.
He added: “With the clothing range, I’ve worked hard on it because I know it has to be good. I wanted to do it the right way.
“I’m looking towards the future with it. Yes, some of the money made will fund my treatment and half the proceeds will go into a trust fund for my daughter.
“But I’m a retired footballer so now I need to do something else with my life. I need to stay busy because it keeps me active.
“I’m not looking for a handout and I’m not selling clothes because I’m sick. I’m selling them because it’s something new for me to try.
“It is a new challenge and if I can use my name to do that, hopefully my family can benefit.”
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