For the family of Paisley youngster Liam McPherson, the fact that he has been able to celebrate his 16th birthday is a right result.
Liam was born very premature – when mum Kerry was just 30 weeks pregnant – and he weighed in at a tiny 2lbs 13ozs.
His parents reckon he wouldn’t be here today if it hadn’t been for the skills of staff at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.
That means every birthday is a special celebration for the Glenburn boy ... and his grandfather, John Ronaldson, made sure his 16th was really one to remember.
John told football fan Liam he would take him along to St Mirren’s training ground in Ralston so he could watch his heroes being put through their paces.
But, when they turned up, the Gleniffer High pupil discovered that his papa had also arranged for him to meet Saints manager Danny Lennon and his star players for a special birthday breakfast.
John, 71, told the Paisley Daily Express: “When Liam was born so early, it was touch and go as to whether he would live or not.
“It was only the actions of the dedicated staff at the Royal Alexandra Hospital that saved him.
“My daughter Kerry is a nurse and that helped later on when the decision was being made about whether or not Liam was well enough to be allowed home.
“He’s now 6ft 2ins tall and wants to join Strathclyde Police, so those early difficulties haven’t held him back. He’s a lovely lad.
“We are both St Mirren season ticket holders and I wanted to do something special for Liam’s 16th birthday after all he went through when he was a baby.
“I sent an e-mail to Mr Lennon and he phoned me back to say we could meet him and the players for breakfast at Ralston.”
As well as chewing the fat with Danny about football tactics, Liam was able to share breakfast with top Saints players, including club captain Jim Goodwin.
Liam’s mum Kerry said it was a birthday he will always remember.
She added: “My dad told me a couple of months ago that he was planning this and then it all came together.
“He told Liam in the morning that they might pop down to Ralston to see if they could see the St Mirren boys training. When they got there, they were able to meet the manager and the players.
“Liam was totally shocked but it was a brilliant surprise for him. He was on such a high for the whole of his birthday.
“His bedroom is like a shrine to St Mirren. There are posters, scarves and shirts on the wall. He couldn’t believe he was sitting there chatting to Danny Lennon and the players while they were eating their cornflakes!
“I went along half an hour after they arrived because I wanted to see Liam’s face and it was clear he was having a great time.
“Everyone at St Mirren was so good to us.”
As an extra birthday treat, Liam was handed a signed St Mirren ball, as well as tickets for a home game.
Kerry, whois an intensive care nurse at the RAH and is also mum to 12-year-old Calum, said Liam has thrived since his difficult arrival in the world.
“He was born at 30 weeks premature and was quite a sick wee baby,” she said. “We got him home a week after his due date in early March and he was on oxygen and different medication. He came off that about a month after he was home and, since then, he’s done really well.
“Touch wood, for all the rotten start he had in life, he’s been a really healthy boy.”
St Mirren general manager Brian Caldwell is glad that Liam had such a fan-tastic day.
He told the Express: “When Danny heard Liam’s story, he was more than happy to welcome him along for breakfast at the training ground.
“It was nice to make Liam feel part of the club and give him the chance to meet Danny and the players.
“Hopefully, we helped to make his day and he’ll remember this birthday for years to come.”