Fernando Ricksen – The Final Battle
It was a dramatic moment during the Dutch talk show “De Wereld Draait Door” three years ago. Dutch football-legend and former Glasgow Rangers-star Fernando Ricksen (12 caps for Holland) became very emotional whilst announcing that doctors had diagnosed him with MND (Motor Neuron Disease or ALS), a fatal neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells responsible for controlling movement. He might not have long to live. A shock ran through the studio and through many living rooms. Fernando was only 37 and leading a happy life with his Russian wife Veronika and their first child Isabella, just two years old...
Flash forward to 2016. How is Fernando now? The disease has taken its inevitable toll - physically he is very weak but mentally still unbroken.
About the documentary
In the documentary “Fernando Ricksen – The Final Battle” Fernando allows us a private, intimate and exclusive peek at his life and shows us the devastating impact of this disease. No holds barred. Fernando wants to give this muscle wasting disease a face. He is determined to motivate other patients to stay positive and never give up. He will not hide; he wants to show exactly what a debilitating disease MND is. In our film we want to show how Fernando deals with his terminal destiny and his wish to be out there in the world notwithstanding his continual decline.
With your help we can produce this important documentary.
We want to bring attention, to as many people as possible, the tragic, unique life story of Fernando Ricksen. We are negotiating with international broadcasters. The film will be an intimate and insightful portrait of a successful, extraordinary, international footballer, who attracted as much attention on the field as off it with his infamous behavior. Starting with the two Dutch clubs Fortuna Sittard and AZ Alkmaar, his career took off with a transfer to the famous Scottish team Glasgow Rangers. Ricksen is still a celebrated hero with Glasgow fans. He ended his footballing career playing a few years for Zenit St. Petersburg, where he also met his present wife, Veronika.
Right before his diagnosis, Fernando published his book ‘Fighting Spirit’ together with the author Vincent de Vries. In this bestseller – Sports Book of the Year – he explains painfully about his footballing successes, the big money, his insatiable desire for women and his constant fight against alcohol and drugs. The book was also published in the UK. The glossy magazine “Fernando” was launched in the Netherlands and will soon be made available in Scotland. A follow-up book is in the making, which will describe his life with MND.
Fernando is determined to be the first patient to conquer MND and wants to pass his fighting spirit on to as many other patients as possible. Even though he knows his wish is unrealistic, Fernando is sure his indefatigable determination has kept him alive against the expectations of his doctors.
Veronika scours the Internet daily looking for the latest news on treatment of MND. She lovingly takes care of him; washes and feeds him and accompanies him everywhere, locally and internationally. The disease may have turned their lives and future together upside down, but according to her their love has never been as great!
20,000 euros means we can finish the film. But we want to achieve beyond the target amount so we can make a better documentary and we can reach more people with this important film.
The first footage has been made, both in the Netherlands and in Spain where Fernando met many Rangers’ fans. During the coming months meetings are planned with several famous, important figures in the football world.
Our aim is to have the premiere of the film in a few months and as quickly as possible after postproduction. The making of the film is urgent as the progress of the disease means Fernando becomes weaker every day. Nowadays he can only shuffle about with difficulty and he can hardly talk any more.
When it becomes too hard for him to speak, his wife Veronika will give him a voice.