Forget Batman, Superman or Spiderman, it’s granda Aly who is a superhero in the eyes of Logan Taylor and his little brother Aiden.
Never without a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes, especially when he sees his beloved grandsons, Aly MacKenzie has never complained a day in his life despite his debilitating 41-year battle with progressive multiple sclerosis (MS).
In awe of their granda’s resilience, inner strength and endless positivity, Logan, 12, and Aiden, nine, from Kingswells in Aberdeen, embarked on an epic fundraising mission, raising over £4,000 for charity.
“Since my granda has MS I felt that I needed to help people younger than him to try and stop them going through what my granda has gone through,” said Logan.
“Even though it’s a bit harder for him now, we still love watching him laugh and have a great time with us.”
Their granda Aly, who lives in Invergordon with his wife and dedicated carer Barbara, (granny Baba), was just 28 when he was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis.
Over the years the neurological condition has gradually taken its toll to the point where he is now housebound and wheelchair bound and needs assistance with eating and personal care.
His daughter Jeanette, who is Logan and Aiden’s proud mum, says her dad has faced everything with dignity.
“My dad was diagnosed in 1979, I was only one at the time,” said Jeanette.
“He was told he had progressive MS which means you constantly have the symptoms and it gets gradually worse over time.
“It progressed and he went into a wheelchair when I was about 13 and over time his symptoms got worse so he’s got advanced MS now but you wouldn’t be able to tell from his attitude.
“He is such an inspiration, he’s always smiling, he never complains and he never says ‘why me”.
“He takes great joy when the boys come to visit. They bring a special twinkle to his eye, a special smile to his face and that’s why we love to go up and visit as often as we can.
“He’s so remarkably proud of the boys and their fundraising.”
Inspired by their granda, Logan and Aiden have embarked on an extraordinary feat of fundraising challenges.
“It all started when I was nine and I wasn’t old enough to enter the middle-stage Kiltwalk so I decided to do a ‘Staggy Stroll’, a 13.9 mile walk from Invergordon to Dingwall which raised £1,800 for the MS Society Scotland,” said Logan.
From sponsored silences and danceathons to bake sales and quizzes, the brothers have since completed so many charity challenges that their mum Jeanette uses a spreadsheet to keep track of all their efforts.
And although Aiden is only nine, like his big brother, he has thrown himself into countless challenges.
“We did a Spin the Wheel challenge using an app so one of the challenges I did was dance for an hour,” said Aiden.
“I also had to be silent for an hour which was horrible, and we camped out overnight in the garden.”
100k walking challenge
During the summer holidays, the boys also took part in the 100k Your Way challenge which saw them walk the distance by visiting as many football stadiums as they could.
And most recently, the brothers have collected 256 selection boxes for local children.
“We collected selection boxes for people at Christmas time that maybe are not as fortunate as we are, to give to them to try and make their Christmas a bit happier,” said Logan.
Recognising the lengths that Logan and Aiden have gone to for the MS Society, but also a range of other charities including the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, brought the brothers to the attention of TV producers.
In what turned out to be a massive surprise for the boys, BBC Scotland presenter Jackie Bird met the brothers at Aberdeen’s Pittodrie Stadium where she broke the news that they will appear on Scotland’s People 2021: A Thank You, a TV show to recognise the country’s unsung heroes.
“We were walking to Pittodrie to collect selection boxes from Aberdeen Football Club but when we got there Jackie Bird was there and she ended up telling us that we were going to be on Scotland’s People,” said Logan.
“I was really surprised.”
Aiden added: “I thought the cameras were there because Aberdeen was getting a new manager.”
As a special treat, the boys, who are huge football fanatics, were treated to a VIP tour of the stadium, meeting goalkeeper Joe Lewis.
The boys also got a surprise Zoom call from the Scotland captain Andy Robertson and free tickets to see Scotland play Denmark at Hampden.
Despite all the whirlwind, Logan and Aiden always have their granda Aly at the forefront of their minds.
“Being on TV will make all of us feel proud, especially granda Aly,” said Logan.
Scotland’s People 2021: A Thank You is on Sunday December 19 on BBC One Scotland at 5.45pm and BBC Scotland at 8pm.