A DAD of three who is on the critical list for a heart transplant has told of his hopes that the call will come before Christmas.

Michael Hanlon, 55, has been been waiting for a new heart for five months.

Two weeks ago he suffered a cardiac arrest, which would have claimed his life if he hadn’t had doctors on standby at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank.

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Michael had one near miss for a transplant but hasn’t given up hope that he will be celebrating December 25th with his family at home in Knightstwood.

Meanwhile, his constant companions are the machines he has nicknamed Jack, Victor and Methadone Mick that are keeping him alive while he waits.

He said: “Three weeks ago today, at 10pm my wife phoned me.

“Next thing I knew it was 10.15pm and there was 12 people around me pumping my chest.

“I had had a cardiac arrest.

“I asked them on a scale of one to ten how bad it was and it was 9.75.

“If I was in house, I would be sitting here having this conversation.

“It brings it home how badly I need a transplant. That’s the only way I’m getting out of here.

“You know there is a heart out there somewhere with my name on it.”

As of September, 554 patients in Scotland were waiting for a transplant including 21 who need a new heart.

Last year, the British Heart Foundation warned that the number of people across the UK waiting for a donor heart has almost doubled over the past five years.

Michael, who is married to Lillias and worked in car sales, was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in 2004, when he was 43,. The condition causes an enlarged heart and is the commonest cause of sudden death. Each child of someone with HCM has a 50 per cent chance of inheriting the condition.

Michael’s eldest son Sean, 30, has been tested and was clear but his two younger son, Michael, 19 and Craig, 17, have not yet taken the test.

Michael said: “I’d always been fit and healthy. I developed what I thought was a virus and ended up in the Western Infirmary.

“My heart rate was 190. The normal heart rate is between 60 and 100 so I was more or less running a marathon when I was sitting down.

“They found out I had an enlarged heart and a leaky Aortic valve. They treated that with medication.

“I had three occasions where they had to restart my heart.

“The leaky valve got gradually worse and it got to the stage where I couldn’t walk for 50 yards so that was replaced.

“After that they tried various medications and did tests on me which is when they found out that I had a hereditary condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy which is otherwise known as as sudden death syndrome.

“It’s the thing that all these footballers have when they collapse.

“There isn’t any treatment for it. They can’t fix it.

“They then found out I had heart failure about 2008. The only fix is to get a transplant.

“It something you don’t really want to go through but it’s always at the back of your mind.

“It’s been a downward spiral since 2014. In February I was referred to come in here and in April they said we want to offer you a heart.

“They offer you it, they don’t say you are going to get it.

“A heart was identified that would suit me. Twelve hours later I got taken into theatre, lines put in and they then discovered the heart was diseased.

“That was really difficult. I get quite emotional thinking about it now.

“You have to deal with it.

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“It’s difficult when other patients get hearts.

“I’m blood group O, which is the most common but that means anyone can get an O heart. So if you are blood group A or B you can get an A or a B and an O.

“I’ve lost about four stones in weight. It’s difficult to exercise but I push myself. I’m doing ten miles a day on the exercise bike. I want to be in the best health possible for a transplant.”

Michael says he is in “no doubt” that the Scottish Government should introduce an opt-out transplant system, following Wales’ lead where individuals are automatically enrolled on the donor register but the right to refuse is respected. The Evening Times has led a five-year campaign calling for the change. Earlier this year, the Scottish Government rejected a bill led by Labour MSP Anne McTaggart but Health Secretary Maureen Watt said the government would take forward its own legislation in 2017.

He said: “I think what Wales is doing is fantastic.

“ I would go as far as saying if you want a transplant you should be an organ donor.

“The important thing is to have that conversation with your family.

“I’ve got 50 of my Facebook contacts signed up now.”

Michael is supporting the Golden Jubilee’s attempt to set a new Guiness World Record for the largest photo album of people making a heart gesture with their hands. The unusual campaign was launched to mark the 25th anniversary year of the first heart transplant in Scotland.

He said: “I’ve had Christmas in my own house every year for the past 23 years.

“If I get a heart today, I’ll be out in two weeks.

“Since the day I came in I’ve been of the attitude, every day I’m in here, I’m one day closer to being fixed.