Chantelle Doyle survived one of many Australians’ worst fears: a shark attack.
Now, the 37-year-old is preparing to face another formidable opponent. This time it’s a boxing ring.
“Every time I think about it or talk about it, I get mild nausea and panic attacks,” Doyle said.
“And it comes day after day, day after day.”
Doyle doesn’t remember the horror he felt when he fell off his surfboard on a Port Macquarie beach in August 2020 after being bitten in the left leg by a 2.5-meter juvenile great white shark.
“I was just reacting because the adrenaline rules and that’s what you have to do,” she said.
She rushed back to her board and her partner Mark Rapley paddled to fend off the shark, punching her in the face until it let go.
They were then able to pull her out of the water and put her in an ambulance.
This time around, Ms Doyle will take advantage of her first boxing match later this month at Dee Why on a beach in northern Sydney to throw punches in defense of the sharks. Raise funds for the Australian Marine Conservation Society.
learn to navigate fear
Severe nerve damage initially left Doyle unable to feel or move his left leg below the knee.
She has regained a lot of movement and strength through multiple surgeries and ongoing intensive rehabilitation.
However, she is frustrated by the pace of her recovery.
“My leg is still partially paralyzed,” she said.
“And I expected so much more, and it was really disgusting to feel like I couldn’t function like I used to.
“So I started boxing.”
Doyle, who wears braces on his left leg and lower leg, is in the middle of a grueling 12-week training schedule to prepare him physically and mentally for the six-minute battle.
She noticed an improvement and a few weeks ago the new muscles regained their function.
“Last week I did a cartwheel for the first time in two years,” she said.
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Despite having a panic attack during the scoring match, Ms. Doyle said boxing gave her strength.
“What I’ve learned from sharks and boxing is that I have a unique tendency to freeze,” she said.
“There are fights, flights, freezes and I’m a freezer. That’s what I’m working on in boxing right now… I’m working on all of these kinds of disabling pieces and how I can navigate I am thinking of
Her commitment to protecting the animals that attacked her motivates her to keep fighting.
As a botanist, Doyle said he knew the importance of conservation, but didn’t know much about the marine environment until he encountered the great white shark.
Since then, she has learned that Australia is a biodiversity hotspot for sharks.
“I think sharks get treated pretty badly,” she said.
“I have a crazy vision that Australia can be a global role model for living with biodiversity and nature, and I truly believe we can.”
Australian Marine Conservation Society shark scientist Leonard Guida first spoke to Doyle and her partner within a week of the incident.
“They want to understand what was going on in the ocean and why sharks are so important.
Great white sharks are recognized as vulnerable in Australian waters, and globally, 37% of shark and ray species are threatened with extinction, primarily due to overfishing.
Dr. Guida, who happened to have fought in an amateur boxing match, said Mr. Doyle’s support for the association’s activities was very important.
“I am humbled and very touched that she was able to spread this message.
back to sea
Doyle said he was determined to get back on his surfboard as soon as possible after being bitten by a shark.
But surfing with an injured leg only made it worse.
“I actually hurt myself badly,” she said.
She still swims, dives and snorkels.
Last Christmas she went scuba diving with a school of blue sharks.
“It was incredible and I loved it,” she said.
However, she avoids water if it is murky or if the weather is rainy.
“Before Sharks, I used to put boards in Sharks,” she said.
“I might be a little more cautious these days.”
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-10-02/shark-bite-survivor-chantelle-doyle-boxing-match-fundraiser/101489738 Shark bite survivor Shantel Doyle enters boxing ring for ocean protection