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On an afternoon bike ride in the Blue Mountains, Janine Shepherd's life was altered irrevocably.

When the champion cross-country skier in training for the Winter Olympics was hit by a truck, doctors warned her parents that she was not expected to survive her ordeal. The bleeding alone was enough to kill her. Even if by some small change she recovered, she would never walk again...


  • Book Title: Never Tell Me Never
  • Author: Janine Shepherd
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan, Random House Australia
  • Publishing Date: 1994, 2007
  • ISBN: 9781741667073
  • Number of Pages: 336
  • Sample Reading: Please click on the following images. Showing 3 of 9.

Never Tell Me Never 1 of 4 Never Tell Me Never 2 of 4 Never Tell Me Never 3 of 4 Never Tell Me Never 4 of 4

Selected Reviews:

  • "The ultimate in dedication, achievement, determination, accomplishment... A celebration of life" ~ Sara Henderson
  • "If gold medals were awarded for sheer guts and determination, Janine Shepherd would have a truckload" ~ Herald Sun
  • "A story of remarkable strength, endurance, discipline and inspiration" ~ Gold Coast Bulletin
  • "As she watches her third child, eight-month-old Angus, learn to crawl, she knows exactly how he feels. He'll fall many times in the learning process, but he'll always get up and try again. Like her, he doesn't know the meaning of giving up." ~ Sydney Morning Herald
  • "I'll end this book review by saying, 'If you could only buy one book this year it should be Never Tell Me Never.'" ~ American Chronicle
About Janine Shepherd:  

Janine Shepherd's story reads like the plot of a hollywood movie. A champion cross-country skier gearing for the Winter Olympics, her life was irrevocably altered when she was run over by a truck during a training bicycle ride to the Blue Mountains.

Her neck and back was broken in six places, and her right arm, collarbone and five ribs fractured. Her right leg had been ripped open, she had sustained head injuries and massive internal injuries. She had severe lacerations to her abdominal area and had lost five liters 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, Shepherd focused every sinew of her being on healing her broken body and crushed morale.

Her fighting spirit was rekindled watching small planes flying overhead. She made a decision: "If I can't walk, I'll fly." And fly she did. While still covered in a full-body plaster cast, Shepherd was lifted into an aircraft for her first flight. That moment changed her life forever.

Within a year she had her private pilot's licence. Despite remaining a partial paraplegic and with many physical challenges still ahead, she battled on to gain her commercial pilot's license, her Instrument rating, her two-engine rating, and her Instructor's rating. She then went on to become a fully qualified aerobatics instructor.

And all the while she pushed her body to mend itself, forced her legs to walk again, step by painful step. Although doctors said she would never have children, Shepherd says her greatest achievement is the three young children she now has. She has since gone on to finish her University degree in Physical Education.

Shepherd's story of defying the odds and winning is both moving and inspiring. The title of her best selling book, Never Tell Me Never, says it all. Shepherd has since written two more books -- Dare to Fly, which was prompted by overwhelming public reaction to her first book, and Reaching for Stars, which was released in November 1998. Her third autobiographical book On My Own Two Feet was published in 2007.

Shepherd's autobiographies have become classics in the survivor genre and have been bestsellers. Her life story has been recently made into a feature film, also entitled "Never Tell Me Never", starring well-known Australian actress Claudia Karvan, and tells of her journey to hell and back. In 2012, the book Never Tell Me Never was translated into Portuguese and published in Brazil to inspire even more readers in America.

Today, Shepherd is much in demand as one of Australia's most sought-after motivational speakers. She travels extensively in Australia and overseas sharing her story with others.

Shepherd has recently been named as one of only ten recipients of the "Outstanding Young Persons of the World" award for 1998 from Junior Chamber International and in 1999 was named an Australian Achiever by the National Australia Day Council. She has recently served on the board of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), the youngest and only female director. She is also the patron of the Australasian Spinal Research Trust and is committed to helping find a cure for spinal cord injury in the near future.

Shepherd was named in the 2001 Australia Day honors list when she was appointed as a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia.

Countless Australians have been captivated by the inspiring story of this remarkable young woman and her story of incredible courage and strength. It is a testament to the power of the human spirit and one that will move and inspire all.

Other Works by Janine Shepherd:

Dare to fly takes up where Never Tell Me Never ends, and follows Shepherd through the publication of her book, the ensuing attention and tremendous support from all kinds of people, the birth of her first two children and her careers as a pilot and a public speaker. She focuses most intently on the people she meets who give her the strength to keep going -- she is still in a lot of pain, is still having considerable corrective surgery, and is a partial paraplegic.

If Never Tell Me Never was a celebration of one woman's resolve and sheer determination not to give in against overwhelming odds, Dare to Fly is about how people can help each other find the strength and community they need to follow their dreams.


In 1986, champion cross-country skier Janine Shepherd was training for the Winter Olympics when she was hit by a truck and suffered life-threatening injuries. She was told that she would never walk again. However, not only did Shepherd learn to walk, she learned to fly a plane and became a commercial pilot and aerobatics instructor. She learned to ride a horse so well she was in the running for the Paralympic Equestrian Team. But then the unthinkable happened. Her husband became seriously ill and suddenly her life began to crumble.

On My Own Feet is the honest and often heart-wrenching account of Shepherd's struggle to save her family from an unpredictable and devastating illness that threatened to tear them apart.


Janine Shepherd's life story has won her legions of fans all over australia. Wherever she goes, she is approached by people who have been moved and inspired by her books. They always ask her where they can get copies of some of the poems and motivational passages she reads out during her speeches -- poems and works which encouraged her at some stage of her struggle.

In response to the thousands of requests from readers all over Australia, Shepherd has compiled Reaching for Stars: Reflections on a journey through life and living, which brings together her favorite inspirational verses and motivational quotes, as well as many observations of her own.


Over many years, Janine Shepherd has found she has been as inspired by the many people she has met in the course of her travels as they in turn have been motivated and moved by her and her story. Janine has come to realize that her life and everything she has learned from its challenges can be distilled in one simple phrase and defined by one outstanding quality: that of Acceptance.

She believes that is truly the greatest gift of all, and one that we all need to nurture in ourselves in order to move on from tragedy and trauma and become the people we are meant to be. The Gift of Acceptance is a collection of her wisdom, insight and advice; a distillation of 25 years of struggle and learning on her part.

The Gift of Acceptance is really one for us all -- to take and to pass on to others.


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