FOOTBALL legend Pat Stanton has launched a fundraising drive ahead of a charity abseil for his brain-damaged grandson.
The Hibs icon and his wife, Margaret, were left distraught when Oliver Porter, now three, suffered a brain haemorrhage within hours of being born with his twin brother, Luca.
A build-up of cerebral fluid meant Oliver then had to undergo emergency surgery aged just two weeks – the first of a series of operations which saw him go under general anaesthetic 30 times and spend the first seven months of his life at the Sick Kids.
His parents, Graeme, 41, and Kirsty, 42, who live with Oliver and his four brothers in Tranent, East Lothian, initially struggled under the emotional and financial impact of taking care of their son.
But thanks to support provided by the Child Brain Injury Trust (CBIT), the family has bounced back, with the couple now preparing to send Oliver to nursery.
To show their thanks, Graeme plans to abseil from the Forth Bridge to raise thousands of pounds for the charity.
Former Scotland captain Pat, 68, who played 398 times for Hibs in the 1960s and 70s, said he hoped as many people as possible would donate.
He said: “You hear about brain injury in the papers but suddenly it was happening on our doorstep. It was a different thing altogether.
“But CBIT were amazing. They were there to help the family in any way they could.”
Mr Porter, branch manager at the Plumb Centre in Hawkhill, said: “There’s a whole lot of pressure there that you just won’t experience until something like a brain injury actually happens. You try to keep your marriage and your kids’ lives as normal as possible, but things very nearly fell apart.
“It was a battle to get anything at first – advice on benefits and other kinds of support – but the charity were great. They’ve taken the kids out and about to places like the climbing arena at Ratho where we got to meet other families living with brain injury.
“We realised we weren’t alone and it’s important that we give something back to them.”
Mrs Porter, a part-time human resources worker for RBS, said: “I think there has to be a lot more support for families like ours and the profile of brain injury needs to be boosted in Scotland.”
Claire Murray, CBIT regional fundraising officer for Scotland, said: “These donations mean we can keep supporting local families.”
Donations can be made at virginmoneygiving.com