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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Janine Shepherd: Friday's Fabulous Flyer

"If you never have a go, you never never know"
Born in 1962... excellent year for baby girls... Janine was headed for greatness. The physique of an athlete, a spirit stronger than a north wind, and the stubbornness to conquer the world, she was headed for the 1988 Winter Olympics as a cross-country skier.

1986, riding her bike in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, she was hit by a utility truck. She lost all her blood...yes "All" her blood, her spine broke in six places, broke her ribs, hands, feet, arm... and her head was opened wide. The miracles that followed are the reason she is here now.

"Pain is inevitable, misery is totally optional"

Janine survived, but she was paralyzed. Sitting in her wheelchair, she looked to the sky and pondered what to do with her life. As an athlete, your world revolves around your body. After her accident, Janine's life revolved around her body, but in a different way.

And then inspiration struck...

 "If I can't walk, I'll fly!"

And fly she did... Janine earned her pilot's license, instructor license, and soon became an aerobatics instructor. In just 18 months, she went from accident to her private pilot's license.

"Destiny is a matter of choice, not chance"

Janine was also told she could never have children, and today she has three daughters. Her life has not been without further tragedy, but another lesson she would soon learn.... there are some things you can't fix. But you can survive.

She proceeded to write four books... and they made a movie of her life.

Janine continues to stand on her own two feet, and she continues to inspire. She is a motivational speaker, and shares her story with a message of hope. There is nothing you can't do. Through another inspirational story, she met singer, song writer, Darren Colston. Together they travel to rural areas, speak and sing, and bring strength and hope to people who have a difficult time facing tomorrow.  Their program, "Lifting the Spirit" is doing just that.

But there is more! Janine was the First Female Director for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, CASA.  Lauren, if there is an advocate for you... Janine is it. I encourage you to contact her... who knows, maybe she can help you with the CAA and your medical.

I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Janine, during an interview with FlightPodcast. We are days away from posting this inspirational interview, I will let you know when she is live at:

Both Janine and I were born in 1962, and apparently share the same stubbornness. We both have three daughters, and the fate that changed her life, touched mine as well. My middle daughter, an athlete who was training for the heptathlon at UCSB, was paralyzed during a back surgery when she was 21, and told she may never walk again. She didn't listen either.  Janine and I both found the skies, and the freedom flying brought. Janine has written four books, and this too I hope to follow in her footsteps with my new passion for writing.

Thank you for sharing your life with us Janine! You've touched mine, and I know many others.

You can find Janine on Twitter or her Web Page...
Janine's Web Page

Enjoy the Journey!



  1. Janine's story is one of the most moving i've ever heard, and never fails to fill me with inspiration. I'll definitely get in touch with her.

    Thank you, Karlene :)

    - Lauren

  2. Thanks for sharing Janine's story, a true story of an incredible woman who shows the world that anything is possible despite the odds.

    I am sure Lauren will contact Janine, I will look out for her books on the net as I would love to read more, and of course your book too when it is published :)

  3. This got me all choked up. I'm so inspired by Janine's story. It makes me want to take on the world! Thank you and Janine for that.

  4. Thank you for this post, Karlene. She is amazing. If we all heard these stories every day to balance out the negative headlines, what a gift that would be.

  5. Lauren, Thank you for the comment. Janine is proof that anything is possible. Keep shooting for the stars!

  6. Thanks Jo! Janine's books are inspirational beyond belief. You'll love them. Mine...a definitely different genre. :) I hope that Janine can be a guiding light for Lauren.
    Thank you for the comment!

  7. Heather, you are taking on the world! But... isn't it great to have someone to keep that fire lit? I love stories like this. She is quite the woman. And then again... so are you.

  8. Thanks Linda, and isn't that so true. I find myself ignoring those headlines more often than not. Maybe we should start a news station for only the good stuff. Thanks so much for your comment!

  9. I must read her books, how inspiring! It makes all my problems seem so minor-if she can overcome that, I can overcome anything! Thanks for sharing, Karlene!

  10. Hi Victoria... I just answered your email, before I read this. She does have a way of making our problems a bit smaller. YOU can overcome anything.

  11. Awesome!! I passed her story on to a friend of mine who is an inspiring quad and motivational speaker, too. Ditto, Linda - we need inspiring headlines that motivate instead of news that takes you down in flames...

  12. An amazing story that shows such courage and is such an inspiration. Thankyou.


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