Janine Shepherd: A broken body isn’t a broken person

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Cross-country skier Janine Shepherd hoped for an Olympic medal — until she was hit by a truck during a training bike ride. She shares a powerful story about the human potential for recovery. Her message: you are not your body, and giving up old dreams can allow new ones to soar.

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Janine Shepherd

About Janine Shepherd

Janine Shepherd is a walking paraplegic; she is also a pilot and aerobatics instructor, as well as a motivational speaker and author.

A champion cross-country skier in training for the winter Olympics, Janine’s life changed forever when she was hit by a truck during a bicycle ride in the Blue Mountains of Australia. Doctors did not expect her to survive and, when she did, they warned her that she would never walk again.

Janine focused intently for years on healing both her broken body and crushed morale. A turning point came watching small planes flying overhead. She decided: “If I can’t walk, I’ll fly.” While still in a full body cast, Janine was lifted into an aircraft for her first flight. Within a year she had her private pilot’s license. Later, she earned her commercial pilots license and instructor’s rating. Janine recently served on the board of Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and became its youngest — and only — female director.

Janine is a the patron of the Australasian Spinal Research Trust and is committed to helping find a cure for spinal cord injury in the near future. In the meantime, she seeks to inspire those coping with physical disability. She is the author of five books, including The Gift of Acceptance and Never Tell Me Never. And while doctors told her after her accident that she would never have children, she now is a mother of three.

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