Family stunned after Dundee businessman Billy, 56, dies of rare illness

In August, Billy Thomson sneaked out of Ninewells Hospital to see his grandchildren start their first day at school.

Billy Thomson

The next day, he suffered a cardiac arrest and died at the age of 56.

Until last year, the father-of-two had been in fine health, running his company Renovo Paving and Surfacing.

It wasn’t until a family holiday in October 2017, when he started complaining of aching muscles, that he started to suspect something was wrong.

Doctors at Ninewells would go on to carry out a series of tests including an MRI scan to find out what was causing the problem.

Eventually Billy was sent to a centre in London specialising in amyloidosis, a rare condition caused by deposits of abnormal protein in the body’s tissues and organs. It was here that Billy was finally diagnosed with AL amyloidosis in March.

It was revealed to the 56-year-old and his family that there had only ever been four cases recorded across Tayside.

They include former Marine Nick Mayor, who spoke to the Tele in October about living with the debilitating disease.

Ex-Marine from Dundee faces battle of his life after losing 4st 10lb through rare incurable disease

Billy’s daughter Amy McArtney, 28, said: “We had read the story of Nick Mayor, who is currently battling with amyloidosis.

“Nick’s was hereditary but dad’s wasn’t.

“He had been complaining of aching muscles while we were in Florida last year.

“Doctors weren’t sure what was wrong with my dad and that’s what made it harder.

“From January they thought it was maybe his thyroid.

“It got to March of this year and they said they didn’t know what was wrong with him.”

Billy and Lynn Thomson
Lynn Thomson

Billy’s wife Lynn added: “That was the hardest thing for all of us – not knowing what was actually wrong with him.”

Billy would go on to lose five stone and spend large amounts of time confined to a wheelchair as the condition progressed.

Amy said: “We asked the doctors if it was life-threatening and they said it was life-changing.

“We hadn’t heard of the condition.

“They told us there had only been four cases ever in Tayside.

“There is only one specialist amyloid centre in London.

“Dad was taken down there and they carried out a series of tests.

“We can’t fault the service he got there. He was there for three days.

“They were able to establish it was in his heart and his bowel.

“Doctors told us there was a 30% chance the condition would kill him.”

The Dundee United fan was admitted to Ninewells Hospital on June 18 this year before his death on August 15.

Amy added: “The day before dad died he sneaked out of the hospital to see his grandkids.

“He wanted to see them starting school.

“He was wearing his heart monitor under his jacket.

“Dad would never have known but he passed away the next day.

“Looking back I don’t know in hindsight if it was better he was away as his life would have been entirely different.

“Because of the amyloidosis they couldn’t get his blood pressure right and he kept collapsing when he got up.

“He went from being a hardworking man to being basically bound to a wheelchair.”

Lynn and Amy said they were looking to do more fundraising in an effort to make money for the centre in London.

Billy’s son Scott, 31, also raised more than a thousand pounds with the help of Kerr’s Dairy at a recent golf outing, that will be donated to the amyloid centre.

Ex-Marine from Dundee faces battle of his life after losing 4st 10lb through rare incurable disease