Disabled Australia Cop Comes To Chicago For Rehab

CHICAGO (CBS) — It happened in the Australian wilderness. A young police officer was bitten by a mosquito and became immobilized, a quadriplegic who also cannot speak.

Now he has traveled from down under to Chicago. Here, police officer Ryan Marron hopes he can regain what was lost. CBS 2’s Mike Parker has his story.

The Chicago Police Department’s Pipe and Drum Corps and members of the department’s Sergeants’ Association marched through O’Hare International Airport with a new arrival in America on Wednesday — disabled Perth, Australia, police officer Ryan Marron.

He and his loved ones hope that his paralysis can somehow be cured at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. His life partner Toni Misitano has been at his side throughout his ordeal.

“I’m just hoping for Ryan to be able to regain his independence and get back to work as a serving police officer,” she said. “It’s his love, it’s his career and we’re just trying very badly to get out life back.”

A year ago, in the Australian outback, a strong and healthy police constable – Marron – was bitten by a mosquito. He contracted encephalitis and rapidly lost the ability to move and to speak. So on Wednesday, he ended a grueling 30-hour flight from Australia to Chicago, a journey of faith and hope that he can be made whole again.

Misitano said of the Rehabilitation Institute, “They’ve been rated number one for the past 21 years, and I think if anyone is going a difference in Ryan’s recovery, it’s going to be here.”

Marron’s brother Jeremy also made the long trip.

“Let’s hope this is a really good beginning of another sort of life journey for Ryan,” he said.

As Ryan Marron sat in a Chicago Police vehicle, waiting for his first trip into the city, he wept as Toni Misitano wiped his tears.

Marron begins his therapy at the Rehabilitation Institute on Monday. It is believed he’ll be a patient in the Institute’s recently opened “Ability Lab.” It is the first of its kind anywhere.

More from Mike Parker
  • M. Maureen

    Seriously how inappropriate don’t think his family needs to see this after traveling from so far for help. Hope our comment was worth it.

  • elena aiden

    M. Maureen – thank you for your comment, it’s greatly appreciated.

  • M. Maureen

    This story has nothing to do with what you are talking about. How about showing this officer and his family some respect. I would hope that if this was your family member you would expect the same.

  • M. Maureen

    At Elena your welcome. Not everyone is this insensitive and there is so much hate in the world that sometimes it makes me so angry when someone is down that some people feel the need to just knock them down again. I think this is very sad and there is no wonder we have so many problems in the world.i pray for this officer and his family and wish him the very best. And I am so proud of the Chicago Police Department in their show of support to this officer and his family.

  • Om Crla

    A lot of people and a lot of hard work has gone into getting Ryan there for treatment. We here in West Aus believe he is in the right place for a chance at his former life again. Hope this is the thing for Ryan.

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