Been thinking about my old Shenton Park room-mate, policeman Ryan Marron and his lovely lady Toni.
Ryan’s battle began 3 years ago while on police duty up north in Halls Creek where he was WAIT FOR IT….
Bitten by a mosquito! One bite and he contracted Encephalitis, a very, very rare but deadly condition which paralyses and affects all areas of the brain, including speech, memory and learning functions. (At least that’s just what I’ve heard – but then, I hear stuff and only remember 50%! Hahaha!)
Anyway I’ve obviously been following their journey and we keep in touch – Jade and I have met up with Ryan and Toni a few times over the last couple of years. The change in Ryan has been easier for me to see, as there were 6 months or so between our meetings.
And his brain is fighting back!!! Ok, not fast enough for Toni or his parents and in-laws who have all been so supportive.
But he’s fighting back!
When he was wheeled into Shenton Park alongside me, his eyes were like those of an old-fashioned teddy bear, little black buttons rolling around with no control whatsoever. Unaware of his surroundings, for some reason he kept singing Foo Fighters – Every bloody night!! Drove me INSANE!!!! RYAN!!!
You owe me a few pints for that someday, Mate!!!
But I digress. I popped in to see the family the other day; Ryan’s Mum Sandra had made me brownies….Oh yeah!!!! And while I was scoffing, Ryan was wheeled in by his carer.I couldn’t believe it! He looked at me straight in the eye, no problem focusing, was clean-shaven and a real handsome bugger, hey Tony! Definitely NOT the same guy I walked 7k to raise money for when I came out of Shents!!!
Although he still doesn’t like to try and talk with everyone, he’s making sounds now – his mum showed me an iPad they’d used to communicate and he was spelling better than me (which isn’t that difficult! Hahaha!)
RYAN WAS ALL THERE!
Now, he just needs to get that body under control and work on his speech.
Two years ago, they all did a long bike ride up north accompanied by police officers (well, someone had to keep them in check!) and raised shed-loads of cash – over 150,000 dollars, I think – to send Ryan to Chicago for treatment.
As for Toni, she has never given up on her man; she intends to stop at nothing to get him right, just like my Jade. In fact, next to my wife, Toni is one of the most amazing women I know.
Here’s wishing you guys all the best for the future. Together, you’re quite a team!
LOOK OUT! Ryan and Toni are unstoppable!!!
Love you guys