The West

It was a moment I'd been dreaming of for so long. Something I had taken for granted before our lives fell apart around us - Ryan and I are going to work today.

It may seem like something people wouldn't get excited about.

But being a WA police officer is no ordinary day at the office. It's a passion and a privilege.

It feels like a lifetime ago but it is only six years since I laid eyes on the man who was to become the most important person in my life.

I met Ryan at the WA Police Academy and we became instant friends. He was the funniest person I had ever met.

It was the beginning of a wonderful adventure. What started as friendship transitioned into a love I can barely describe.

Life was perfect and we were incredibly happy. We began preparing for a life together and it was going to be amazing.

A year into our relationship we moved to Halls Creek to experience country policing. A couple of years later, we were preparing to return home to Perth and move into the next phase of our lives and careers.

Life was better than I ever imagined it could be. But my worst nightmare was about to unfold and Ryan was nearly taken from me.

A mosquito infected Ryan with a deadly virus that devastated his body while he was on secondment in Balgo, a remote community in the Tanami Desert.

He is still wheelchair-bound and unable to speak consistently. But he is the most resilient, courageous and dedicated man I've ever met and even after everything we've been through in the past 20 months, he continues to push through.

Our 2012 has seen us at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and back, which was made possible through the generosity of family, friends, colleagues, the community and the State Government, and where Ryan made extraordinary gains in his recovery.

It took us back to the Kimberley for the first time since his illness for the Broome Police Legacy Ball.

It has had its severe downs but it has had its good moments, too.

And this day is one of them: our first back at work together. Where it all started, the police academy.

I push Ryan in his wheelchair around the campus. He's looking as gorgeous as always in his uniform and his smile is so contagious.

We visit friends and colleagues who are ecstatic to see Ryan back. Recruits pass by with well wishes and pats on the back. I hope Ryan's endless perseverance to get back to work is a testament to the fact this is more than a job or a career. I know Ryan will be back here one day in full health. It will be the best day of our lives and 2013 will be a year full of hope and improvement.

A message to our police family that now extends all the way to the Chicago Police Department: Words just don't seem enough to describe what your continued and unwaver-ing support means to us.

It's you that keeps us going. You pick us up when we fall and don't want to get back up because it's too hard. You are with Ryan when he's in therapy every day trying to rebuild his strength. He's trying to get back to you.

Looking back on our year, I can't believe what we've gone through. I can only imagine how far Ryan will go and what he will achieve if this is what he's been able to accomplish in a relatively short period, when he wasn't expected to survive.

Ryan is my heart and soul and I give thanks every day that he not only survived, but has the perseverance to never give up, to keep going in spite of the changes being so small and incremental.

Ryan needs only time. He is unstoppable and resolute. He has no plans to sit back and accept this tragic twist of fate. He is the most amazing man and I am so proud of him. If we can get through this, we can get through anything.

'He is the most resilient, courageous and dedicated man I've ever met.' " Ryan Marron's partner

  • Toni Misitano *

The West Australian

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