Donors dig deep for stricken officer
Lyndall Butler, left, Tom Marron, Brad Marron and Sandra Marron on the Gibb River Road Challenge. Picture: Lee Griffith/The West Australian

Moments after a man handed him a cheque for $10,000, Tom Marron almost cried describing the overwhelming community support for his son Ryan, struck down by Murray Valley encephalitis in the Kimberley last year.

Mr Marron, Ryan's mother Sandra, brother Brad and partner Lyndal Butler this week completed a gruelling five-day, 800km bike ride through the Kimberley to raise money for the police officer's rehabilitation in Chicago, which costs $4000 a day.

More than 400 riders have set a fundraising target of $500,000 to help pay for Ryan's treatment - estimated to cost up to $800,000 - with any extra money to be distributed to other police who fall ill or are injured on duty.

At Home Valley Station on Wednesday night, riders and their support crews dug deep, raising an extra $13,985 at auction.

The winning team, the Roaring Fawties, was also well on the way to raising $100,000, with their pledges to be matched dollar for dollar by BHP Billiton.

Gibb Challenge organiser Simon Rimmer, Ryan's police colleague and friend, said about $300,000 had been raised for the Ryan Marron Foundation so far.

The Kimberley ride finished at El Questro yesterday, but donations are expected to keep flowing in.

Mr Marron said being on the Gibb River Road was painful for his family because they had travelled it with Ryan in 2010, months before he was bitten by a mosquito in Balgo, became ill and almost died.

"Ryan's not going to make any rapid, miraculous recovery but he's getting the best therapy in the world," Mr Marron said.

Mr Marron will fly to Chicago on Monday to visit Ryan for two months, giving his partner and full-time carer Toni Misitano the opportunity for some respite.

To donate, see <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.ryanmarronfoundation.org">www.ryanmarronfoundation.org </a>.

The West Australian

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