Ahead of Rare Disease Day 2024, CAFE spoke with Ralph Franken - a passionate football fan from the Netherlands.

An avid follower of Ajax, Ralph is also a huge supporter of the Dutch national team, and regularly blogs about his experiences and thoughts on football. 

Ralph has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a rare disease that is estimated to occur in 1 in every 5000 male births. 

There is one subject in my life that I am always positive about and that gives me a lot of energy and is really my passion: football.

I often go to matches with my father or a friend, and then I mainly go to Ajax matches in Amsterdam. I enjoy it very much, especially when Ajax plays well and wins.

But what I am even more of a fan of is the Dutch national team. It will be my ultimate dream if the Netherlands becomes World champions or European champions. 

Because I follow so much football, I know a lot about it and I talk a lot about it. Information about the football clubs, knowledge about the players, whether they are in shape, first and last names, where they are from, transfers, which matches are played, who scored, results of matches, everything!

After training as a football journalist, I started a football blog two years ago. It is called ‘Ralph’s Voetbalpraat’ (Ralph’s football talk). Every two weeks I post a new report.

Fortunately, I already have some loyal fans reading my blog. I also always like it when I put it on social media, and people like my blog or write something nice about it. 

But of course that is not the point, I mainly write reports because I enjoy sharing my knowledge about football! My passion football also distracts me from my muscle disease and thinking about Duchenne!

We would like to extend a huge thank you to Ralph for sharing his story with us. We look forward to continuing to follow his experiences and sharing his football talks.

If you would like to share your story with us, please reach out via our online contact form or email our dedicated Fans Liaison Officer at [email protected]

To find out more about Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, please visit the World Duchenne Organization website.

Find out more about Rare Disease Day 2024.

Published 29/2/2024