Like many 21-year-olds, Ross Peters enjoyed an active social life, playing football and working in a hands-on job.
But just 48 hours after a normal Friday night out in Dundee city centre, the electrician found himself in hospital, “scarily” close to needing a heart transplant.
Ross, from Dundee, was diagnosed with a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), an enlarging of the heart that is a form of heart failure.
He now hopes to share his story in order to raise awareness of his condition and inspire those who may be in a similar situation.
He said: “I woke up one Saturday not feeling well.
“Doctors initially thought it was a virus but when I got worse I was moved to Ninewells.
“The doctors then conducted a series of tests and thought it could possibly have been a blood clot.
“But once they realised how severe it was, I was sent to a hospital in Glasgow.”
Dilated cardiomyopathy is an illness very rarely seen in patients under the age of 40 and Ross said that the lack of information on his condition available for someone his age was “disheartening”.
“I was told that I might need a heart transplant,”
“It was very scary, to go from well on Friday to needing a heart transplant on the Sunday.
“All of the information and leaflets were aimed at patients over the age of 40.
“I had gone from living an active life, playing five-a-side football and working on sites, lifting heavy equipment and machinery to struggling to have the energy to brush my teeth.
“If you pardon the pun, it was all very disheartening.”
Ross decided that after an initial period of upset about the situation he found himself in, he would be better off staying positive.
“I was in hospital for a number of weeks,” he said.
“I kept thinking, ‘why me?’
“Why was I so unlucky?
“I felt that my whole world had been turned upside down.
“But I’m now positive about things and it has made me better.
“It was difficult at the start life looked bleak.
“But I am living proof that it can get better.
“I’m thankful to be alive.”
Ross changed his diet and lifestyle and has slowly been able to get back to some sort of normality.
He requires “up to 10 tablets a day” but remains positive, noting that he now does not need a heart transplant.
There are no recorded statistics on how many sufferers under the age of 40 there are in the UK and due to its hereditary nature, there is nothing that can be done to avoid having it.