Not even a rare Hawthorn loss at the weekend could hinder the joy of paralysed WA police officer Ryan Marron's reunion with his hero Luke Hodge.
Still unable to walk or talk three years after a mosquito carrying Murray Valley encephalitis bit him in the Kimberley, Const. Marron did not need words yesterday as Hodge presented him with a signed brown-and-gold guernsey.
The beaming Hawthorn fanatic has come a long way since first meeting the Hawks captain in 2011 and although doctors have never made a prognosis, Const. Marron's partner Toni Misitano said he continued to undergo therapy five days a week.
Ms Misitano said she was not giving up hope of a full recovery.
"We never say never," Ms Misitano said. "Ryan is a lot further along than they initially told us he would ever be so if he can still continue to make gains, no matter how long it takes, then we'll be here and we'll keep working at it."
As Const. Marron continues along the road to recovery, the foundation formed in his name is expanding to assist current and former WA Police officers who have fallen on hard times.
A serving officer herself, Ms Misitano said the initiative recognised many in the force who struggled with the financial burden of physical and mental injury but did not enjoy the high profile of Const. Marron.
"Ryan is not the only police officer out there that needs help," she said.
"If a police officer has shown evidence they need financial assistance, whether it's because of physical or psychological reasons, then we will be there to help."
WA company Steel Blue has jumped behind the cause and will donate $4 from every pair sold of its new Response range footwear.
The Ryan Marron Foundation and Steel Blue will launch the initiative at Saturday's Swan Districts-Claremont WAFL fixture.