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Ex-Rangers captain Ricksen fears 'time is ticking away'

The Dutchman spoke out about his battle with MND ahead of his final charity event.

Reporting by Peter Smith

Former Rangers captain Fernando Ricksen fears "time is ticking away" as he prepares to host his last ever charity event.

The 42-year-old Dutchman, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in 2013, says his 'An Evening With Fernando Ricksen' in Glasgow next week will be his final public appearance.

Ricksen will be joined by fellow Ibrox hero Marvin Andrews at GoGlasgow Urban Hotel on Friday, June 28.

He said: "I'm in a really difficult situation right now and have to make some decisions regarding my health so I can keep all my energy focused on fighting MND.

"That is why it will be my last charity event, my body can't do that anymore."

'The most difficult thing for me was giving up my independence, now I need to ask everyone for help.'
Fernando Ricksen

Ricksen, who won seven major honours during his time in Glasgow, revealed the most difficult thing about the disease was giving up his independence.

He said:"It's very difficult. Your body doesn't work anymore but your brain is functioning without problems.

"You start losing the ability to speak, then your legs start to get wobbly, then you can't lift your legs anymore and you start falling, hence the scars.

"After that everything stops working slowly but your brain is fully aware of everything.

"The most difficult thing for me was giving up my independence, now I need to ask everyone for help - it's very difficult."

Ricksen: Will make 'final appearance' in Glasgow next week.
Ricksen: Will make 'final appearance' in Glasgow next week.

Ricksen earned 12 full caps for Holland during a 19-year-career that took in spells at Zenit St Petersburg, AZ Alkmaar and Fortuna Sittard, where he made his professional debut in 1994 and played his final game as a pro in 2013.

He had only been retired for a few months when he was diagnosed with MND in October 2013, but it was a few years before the full extent of the illness became clear.

He said: "It's been a rollercoaster ride. The first few years you don't get bothered with the symptoms until they kick in.

'I still have the same hopes as when I got diagnosed - to be the first person to beat MND, but I'm also realistic and know that time is ticking away.'
Fernando Ricksen

"Then you want to do everything at once but that doesn't work and you end up with some scars from falling."

Despite the recent hardships he has been facing, Ricksen is still holding out hope that he can be the first person to beat the deadly disease.

He said: "I still have the same hopes as when I got diagnosed - to be the first person to beat MND, but I'm also realistic and know that time is ticking away.

"The only thing I can do is keep fighting and don't give up even if it seems impossible sometimes."

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