A Raith Rovers-daft teenager who underwent life-saving open heart surgery had his spirits lifted this week by some very special visitors.
Bradley Sharp (19) from Kirkcaldy enjoyed a surprise chat with Raith’s Iain Davidson, Kevin McHattie and Aaron Lennox – who presented him with a signed strip.
For Bradley - who has held a season ticket at Stark’s Park for 12 years and supported the team home and away – it was a magic moment.
His dad, Nigel, said: “He’s been in hospital now for seven and a half weeks. That’s a long time.”
Bradley – who was about to complete an HND in accountacy at Fife College – fell ill in May with what he thought was a chest infection.
He told the Press: “It was sore to breathe and I had pains in my arms. I was coughing a lot and it made me want to gag.”
But he carried on with normal activities, driving to see Raith Rovers play in Livingston and then travelling to St Andrews afterwards.
Despite being in constant pain, he never complained, but the following day knew he needed to go to A&E for help.
What happened next was every parent’s nightmare.
Nigel said: “We thought it was a chest infection and that he’d be given medication and go home.
“Instead, it was a blue light job to Edinburgh.
“We went into A&E at 8am and by 8pm we were told Bradley would be in theatre for six to eight hours of open heart surgery.”
Medics discovered Bradley had septicaemia but, worse still, he had a weakened aortic valve which the blood infection had attacked further.
A mechanical valve was fitted and Bradley spent three weeks in Edinburgh before being transferred to Kirkcaldy.
He faces another heart operation before his ordeal is over.
Sheila, Bradley’s mum, said he was keen to get back to college, driving and, of course, football: “He’s come a long way and he’s doing well. He takes it all in his stride,” she said.
Nigel added: “The care has been great, really great. I know people have their opinions of the NHS but I can’t fault them, not for a second.”