Never to hold her children

Mac and Gayle Shann are still deciding whether or not to have children after Gayle lost one arm and lost the use of the other in a tractor accident seven years ago.
Mac and Gayle Shann are still deciding whether or not to have children after Gayle lost one arm and lost the use of the other in a tractor accident seven years ago. Megan Lewis

FOR Mac and Gayle Shann nothing can stand in the way of true love.

Seven years ago Gayle, 34, lost her right arm and the use of her left arm in a tragic farming accident.

Mac, 31, has been there for her every step of the way.

But the couple, who share an unbreakable and inspiring bond, are facing their toughest challenge yet - whether to have children.

“When the accident first happened we thought we weren't going to let it stop us,” Gayle said yesterday.

“But it would be difficult. I think I would get frustrated not being able to do anything for my own child.”

Yesterday Mac and Gayle, who run Cantaur Park at Clermont, were in Rockhampton to scout some cattle at the National Droughtmaster sale at the Gracemere Saleyards.

Gayle suffered horrific injuries when working on a fence using a mechanical post hole digger on August 9, 2002.

“I think my glove got caught in the PTO shaft of the tractor when I was shovelling dirt,” she said.

“A PTO shaft spins about eight rounds per second and it pulled me in.

“It pulled my right arm and shoulder off straight away. My left arm is paralysed.”

Gayle said she then had an agonising two-hour wait for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

“I was unconscious for only a few minutes, the rest I was conscious. I don't remember the pain but there was a lot of blood.”

Gayle also had a number of other injuries including a broken leg, which at one stage they thought she might lose too.

Although her right arm was lost in the accident the nerves to that arm were still attached to the spinal cord and were grafted to her left arm in an operation in September 2002.

“I had a world first surgery. I did get a few results. I still can't use my arm but I can control it a bit more. It's a bit weird. I have to imagine moving my right arm to make my left one move.”

Gayle said her biggest fear after the accident was having to move into town.

“I still love the land,” she said.

Gayle and Mac have both grown up on properties and even met at a campdraft.

They have now been married for 10 years.

Gayle said life had been difficult since the operation and Mac had to take on running the property on his own, while also looking after her.

“I love him for that,” she said.

“I'm very lucky - most people wouldn't do what he does for me.”

Gayle said they were still undecided about children and thought time was running out to have them.

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