Gayle Shann

#87 How did Gayle lose the use of both arms in a farm-accident?

Date published

19 Apr 2024
Gayle Shann at RFDS SE base

Growing up on a rural property in North Queensland, Gail and Mac Atkinson's childhood experiences were unique and shaped by the challenges and adventures of farming life. 

From learning to drive a vehicle at a young age to attending School of the Air and participating in cattle breeding, their upbringing instilled in them a sense of resilience and independence that has carried them through their adult lives.

Mac and Gayle Shann ABC News

In episode 86 of the Flying Doctor Podcast, her husband Mac says he recalls every detail of the moments after Gayle’s safety glove caught in the spinning auger shaft of their tractor. 

With his young wife’s right arm torn completely from her body, her left arm fractured and smashed and her leg badly broken, Mac and the neighbours and RFDS crew who came to Gayle’s aid, faced a desperate battle to keep Gayle alive.

Gayle and Mac Shann

These days, Gayle and Mac are ‘living their best life’ - breeding exceptional stud cattle and elite camp drafting horses on their Queensland ‘Cantaur Park’ property, raising money for the RFDS through the Classic Ladies Foundation and constantly striving to develop and adapt every element of their working life to be as accessible for Gayle as possible. 

Some twenty years after that fateful farm accident - made famous by the ABC's Australian Story - Gayle and Mac Shann’s life together is a testament to true love, mutual respect and the extraordinary strength of the human spirit.