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When She Couldn’t Walk She Decided to Fly: Meet Janine Shepherd

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Janine Shepherd, 57, is a world-famous Motivational Speaker inspiring millions of people worldwide by sharing her incredible life journey. She is also an Australian author and an aerobatics pilot. Janine used to be a former cross-country skier too. She started her career as an athlete and was about to represent Australia in the winter Olympics 1988 when she met with a life-threatening accident after being hit by a speeding truck in course of a training bike ride. This accident left Janine broken not just physically but emotionally as well shattering all her long cherished dreams. Her life was in danger and the doctors predicted that she would never be able to walk again if she survives her injuries. But Janine defied all of these negative predictions about herself and became a true winner, survivor and a real-life hero! Her story inspires people going through tough times in life and gives them new hope

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Janine was a champion athletics in her childhood. She won many national titles by the age of ten. She had talent in various sports but she loved cross-country skiing the most. Since she got success on the World circuit, she was offered training with the Canadian team in the lead up to the 1988 Winter Olympics in Canada. The fatal day in the year 1986 when Janine faced the brutal accident, she was cycling through the Blue Mountains in New South Wales while training. She was hit by a truck and suffered severe injuries. Her neck and back were broken, she lost about 5 liters of blood, and suffered severe lacerations to her abdomen. Janine’s right leg got ripped open and five of ribs and collarbone were fractured. Doctors had no hope of her survival but she proved them all wrong. When she survived her injuries to live her life she was told that she would never be able to stand on her own feet and remain bound to a wheelchair for the rest of her life, she will never be able to be a mother. But through her strong will power, courage and determination Slowly, Janine began her rehabilitation. She made up her mind to prove her doctors wrong and got success in doing so just in a span of 12 months!

From being a paraplegic, Janine Shepherd was ultimately able to walk again on her feet by her untiring efforts. She started to try to stand by holding two people, then one person, then something around her and then taking baby steps and falling. But she did not lose heart and kept on trying and trying until she achieved sucess in standing on her feet and walking independently. She told herself while sitting in her wheelchair looking at an aeroplane flying in the sky, ‘What if I’m not able to walk, I can fly!’ She decided to be a pilot and got her pilots’ license within a year of the accident! She first gained a commercial pilot’s license, then an instructor’s license, and eventually became an aerobatics flying instructor. Soon, Janine Shepherd became the first female director of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Janine Shepherd/Facebook

Janine Shepherd is an author of six popular books – all based on her personal story. A telemovie was made on her first book, ‘Never Tell Me Never‘ which became very popular. Janine is currently one of the most heard motivational speakers in the world and extremely popular celebrity on social media. Janine was a torchbearer at the 2000 Summer Paralympics in Sydney, Australia. She also made an attempt to represent Australia at the 2004 Summer Paralympics, inspite of a severe back pain.

In 1998, Janine Shepherd was selected one among ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World, by the Junior Chamber International. Her incredible life story has been shown on Australian ’60 minutes’, This is Your Life and ABC’s ‘Talking Heads’. Shepherd’s TEDx talk in Kansas City, ‘A Broken Body isn’t a Broken Person’ is immensely popular worldwide. Janine has been appointed an ambassador for Spinal Cure Australia and chosen as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2001 for her service to the community, and raising awareness of spinal cord research.



Janine Shepherd/Facebook

My Favorite Quotes From Janine Shepherd

“When I got home from hospital, and I was in a wheelchair in a plaster body cast, an aeroplane flew over. And I thought to myself, ‘Well, if I can’t walk, then I might as well fly.’ And I was lifted into the aeroplane for the first time. And when I took the controls of the aeroplane, I knew this was something I could do. I thought, ‘I can fly.”

“We can think so much about life and take ourselves so seriously; I mean, I like to tell people, ‘Don’t take life too seriously’ because you’ll cloud the experience. That’s what the meaning of life is to me – being able to enjoy the moment.”

“I say to people that it’s a choice that we make every day in our lives. Doesn’t matter what you’re going through. You don’t have to be going through what I went through. But it’s whether you decide to get up or stay down, whether you say ‘yes’ or whether you say ‘no’ to life. Basically, I decided to say, ‘Yes.”

“I know that I’m not my body, and I also know that you’re not yours.”

“Life is about opportunities, creating them and embracing them, and for me, that was the Olympic dream. That’s what defined me. That was my bliss.”



Janine Shepherd/Facebook





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Comments (2)

  • Despite Pain 2 months ago Reply

    What an inspiring woman. Such an uplifting story to read. Thank you for sharing.

  • Juliet 2 months ago Reply

    I absolutely love this inspiring story! I never knew about this woman, but this is definitely what I needed to read this morning. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this post.

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