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Janine Shepherd had her life upended in a single moment. Back in  1986, she was a world class cross-country skier who was training for the winter Olympics. While on a bicycling training exercise, she was struck by a speeding utility truck and she was injured quite badly. She had to be air-lifted to the hospital where she had surgery to her L1 vertebrae, which had been smashed to pieces. She also suffered a broken neck and lost five litres of blood.

Doctors performed multiple surgeries over the following months and ultimately told her that she was a partial paraplegic. They told her that she would be bound to a wheel chair for the rest of her life and that she would not be able to bear children. Obviously, her Olympic dreams were also dashed.
Her life was completely changed from that moment on.

Unwilling to be held back, Janine became determined to learn to walk again after one of her surgeries was successful in giving her some feeling in her lower body. She then began the long process of rehabilitation to learn how to walk again. She also went in a full body cast to begin flying lessons so that she could obtain her pilot license. Janine decided that she would move forward with her life doing whatever she could to continue on.

Said Janine:  “Although my body was limited, my spirit was unstoppable. It wasn’t until I let go of the life I felt I should have that  I embraced.” Within 18 months, Janine not only had her pilot license, but she
received her pilot training license and began teaching others to fly.  She walks with a limp, but is able to
walk and she also has three children.

 Now, Janine spends her time as a motivational speaker sharing her story world-wide. She has authored four books about her ordeal in order to inspire others. The first book, called Never Tell Me Never, was actually turned into a TV movie. She has been a torch bearer at the 2000 Summer Paralympics in Sydney and she was also named one of the Ten Outstanding Young People in the world by JCI in 1998.

 See her Ted talk called: A Broken Body Isn’t a Broken Person below.




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