GARDEN GROVE (CBSLA.com) — There are few things Ron Rickard likes more than the Oakland Raiders. He just hasn’t thought of what those things are.
Rickard, a Garden Grove man, is a die-hard Raiders fan. He’s known as the friendly face at tailgate parties. He’s got the team logo tattooed on his body.
To call him a “fan” might be an understatement. He hasn’t missed a home game since 1985 — when he moved to Southern California. For that matter, he hasn’t missed any away games either — Rickard has attended 215 consecutive games. He’s earned the nicknames Raider Ron and “The General.”
Rickard, 51, needs a transplant. He also doesn’t have insurance.
KCAL9′s Rachel Kim sat down with Rickard Saturday to talk to him about his love of the Raiders.
A look through his closet says it all.
“Here is my Raiders leather jacket, an old game day shirt…,” says Rickard before revealing a closet filled of Raiders paraphernalia.
His love for the team started when he was 9, a boy in Kentucky.
“We didn’t have a team in Kentucky,” he explains, “they ended up being my team. And then the mystique around the Raiders and all the old guys they gave a second chance to. I grew up, I was a Raider.”
Rickard went years without knowing his body — and his liver — was being ravaged by Hepatitis C.
The doctor told him the bad news this past December.
“He said, ‘If you don’t get a liver transplant in the next two-three months, I don’t think you’ll be here,’” Rickard recalls.
Raiders fans to the rescue.
The fans, some he doesn’t even know, have been helping him with expenses, getting to and from games and even pitching in to pay medical bills. They’ve had a charity auction.
Some fans have even offered to serve as living donors.
Despite a grim prognosis, Rickard is not at all down and out.
“I went from being on my death bed, to there’s hope. I’m telling everybody, ‘You ain’t getting rid of me. I’m going to be here for a while.’”
For more information about Raiders fans, click here.
For more information about Ron Rickard, write to him at Ron@RaiderRon.com.