A DEVOTED friend has paid the ultimate tribute to his best pal – by getting a tattoo of his heartbeat on his chest.
Marc McCay, 28, was at death’s door after being hit by a virus while on holiday. The first Marc knew was when he woke up two weeks later to discover he had undergone a life-saving heart transplant.
Now his lifelong pal John McKellar, also 28, has had an image of Marc’s heartbeat etched on to his chest as a permanent reminder of his bravery.
He said: “Marc and I have grown up together and he’s like a brother. He’s the strongest person I know.
“This tribute is the least I could do for a best mate who’s been through hell.”
John and Marc grew up a few streets apart in Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire, where they attended the same nursery, primary and secondary school together.
As a youngster, super-fit Marc was tipped to become a professional footballer like elder brother Ryan, 30, who played for St Mirren.
But in 2003, when he was 15, Marc fell seriously ill after coming home from holiday in Ibiza.
He was rushed to hospital in Paisley where he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy – a silent heart condition which affects young people.
Hours later his organs began to fail and his parents, Linda and Norrie, were told he would die without a heart transplant
Despite the huge risks involved, they gave their permission for Marc to be transferred to Newcastle for the operation.
Incredibly, he defied the odds and has spent the last 13 years rebuilding his life.
But there’s been setbacks along the way – and last month he ended up in the heart unit at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank after suffering another complication.
John added: “I was sitting at his bedside during visiting time two weeks ago and asked him to take a picture of his heart monitor.
“I took it to a tattoo artist and asked him to etch the image on my chest above my own heart. My girlfriend Kelly is really proud as are myself and Marc’s families.
“He has come through what would have destroyed most others. But he always bounces back smiling.”
Marc, who was released from
hospital last week, admitted to being overwhelmed by John’s tribute.
He said: “It’s great to have such devoted friends. Life has been tough but friends and family have been with me every step of the way.”
Marc’s mum Linda, 53, added: “We are all touched by John’s amazing loyalty and friendship to Marc.”
Last year Marc met the parents of the donor who saved his life.
In a poignant moment during the meeting, the mum of tragic Martin Burton, who died from a brain haemorrhage aged just 15, placed her hand over her dead son’s heart and felt it beating in Marc’s chest.