Janine Shepherd

“Never tell me Never”. Janine was a champion cross-country skier in training for the winter Olympics when her life was irrevocable altered as the result of an horrific accident.

Because of her serious injuries, doctors predicted that Janine wouldn’t live, then that she would not be able to walk or bear children. However, Janine refused to accept this and focused every sinew of her being on healing her broken body. In addition to walking again, Janine is the mother of 3 children and a commercial pilot.

Janine Shepherd's story reads like the plot of a Hollywood movie. A champion cross country skier in training for the Winter Olympics, her life was irrevocably altered when she was run over by a truck during a bike ride to the Blue Mountains. Her neck and back were broken in four places, as were her right arm, collarbone and five ribs. Her right leg had been ripped open, she had sustained massive internal injuries, severe lacerations to her abdominal area, and had lost five litres of blood. The bleeding alone was enough to kill her.

Doctors warned her parents that she was not expected to survive her ordeal. Even if by some small chance she recovered, she would never walk again. Coming to terms with her shattered Olympic dreams, refusing to believe what expert medical staff were telling her about her chances of any kind of recovery, Janine focused every sinew of her being on healing her broken body and crushed morale. Janine's fighting spirit was rekindled watching small planes flying overhead. She said to herself, "If I can't walk, I'll fly." And fly she did. Within a year she had her private pilot's licence; twelve months later, her commercial licence; then her instructor's permit.

And all the while she pushed her body to mend itself, forced her legs to walk again, step by painful step. Her well developed sense of humour proved to be a valuable asset in this long, testing process and is evident whenever she speaks. Natural, open and warm, Janine speaks from the heart. Her infectious, engaging manner and very personal approach make her a highly motivating conference keynote or after dinner speaker. Janine's story of defying the odds and winning is both moving and inspiring. The title of her best-selling book, Never Tell Me Never [which was also made into a telemovie starring Claudia Karvan] says it all.

Janine now lives in Sydney with her husband and the three young children her doctors said she'd never be able to have. She is a commercial pilot and a fully qualified aerobatic flying instructor.


• Never Tell Me Never!
• Dare to Fly