Former record store boss begged docs to save him after heart attack so he could celebrate his 70th birthday

A radio presenter who suffered a heart attack begged medics to save him so he could live to celebrate his 70th birthday.

Mike Dillon was lying on a hospital trolley, with nurses frantically attaching him to monitors and machines, when he turned to a doctor and pleaded: “Doc, you have to keep me alive for at least another two weeks.”

When he was asked why, he replied: “That’s when my 70th birthday is.

Along with Mike, everyone in the accident and emergency room at Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Hospital burst out laughing.

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Humor was the only way Mike knew to ease the stress and pressure on everyone – not least himself – fearing he was not far from drawing his last breath.

Mike can laugh even louder and longer now that after several days in hospital and a stent fitted in one of his arteries, he’s fully recovered.

Now he’s about to get back behind the microphone on Friday night to present his Singers and Songwriters show on Celtic Music Radio for the first time in two years.

An earlier heart attack in 2020, the covid lockdown and then the more serious health scare in September 2021 had kept him off air for two years.

Back then he thought he’d pressed the play button during his popular show for the last time.

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But he can’t wait to get back broadcasting in Celtic Music Radio’s new studio, based at Braehead shopping centre, on 95FM and online throughout the world.

Mike pictured with Paolo Nutini when he ran iconic Paisley record store Apollo Music

The former disco DJ and Paisley record store owner is on air between 10pm and midnight on Friday, playing tracks from his favorite singer-songwriters in the Americana, folk and country genres and classic songs from the Sixties to the present day.

Mike, who lives in Paisley says: “It’s been a long time and I can’t wait to start broadcasting again. I’ve missed the excitement of being live on the radio and the relationship you build up with regular listeners, who tune in from all over the world.

“They can be sure I’ll literally be putting my heart and soul into the shows from now on. I’ll be playing some really great songs from artists old and new.

“When I had my heart attack last year it was really scary. I was sitting at home watching TV when I suddenly felt really weird and was breaking out in sweats. After my first heart attack I had a device in the house that measures my heart rate and when I hooked myself up to it, the reading was off the scale.

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“I phoned for an ambulance, but was told there wouldn’t be one immediately available, so I called a pal, Scott Mowatt who came round and drove me to the hospital in his car.

Mike Dillon
Mike was a great supporter of Record Store Day

“I’ve always used humor as my way of handling stressful things in my life and that’s why I made the keep me alive until my birthday quip. It seemed to work for everyone involved.”

Mike hopes the story of his recovery can help and inspire other people who have serious heart problems.

“The difference made to my life since I got the stent is staggering. From the minute I had it put in all the chest pains and the breathlessness has disappeared.

“People should never give up hope of living a normal life again after having a heart problem if they listen to what the doctors tell them.

“We have some of the best heart specialists in the business in Scotland and I’m eternally grateful to them for saving my life.

“We should always have faith in the NHS and the dedicated staff who work in our hospitals – it’s something I treasure dearly.”

While Mike’s making up his playlist for his Friday night show, he may consider the rather apt tracks How Can You Mend A Broken Heart by the Bee Gees, or Elton John and Kiki Dee singing Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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