Why not me? says a true heroine

janineThere are some who show us what strength of the spirit truly is.

One of them is Janine Shepherd from Australia.  She was a super athlete who had trained since she was a child and had won medals galore since the age of 10.

When in her twenties, she was cycling through some mountains as part of her training routine. She was hit by a vehicle, suffering massive injuries. She suffered a broken neck and back, lost five litres of blood, suffered severe lacerations to her abdominal area. Her right leg was ripped open, her collarbone and five ribs were fractured, and she suffered serious internal injuries. Doctors at first thought she would not live, but she pulled through. She was then told that she would be bound to a wheelchair for the rest of her life, and would never bear children.

She was naturally very depressed but kept thinking on what do no next. The turning point came in my life when I asked “Why not me”? instead of “Why me?” she says.

She decided to overcome her difficulty through the strength of her spirit and did all that she could slowly but steadily.

Over the next few years, she began to go through the slow rehabilitation process. She was determined to defy the predictions set by her doctors, and succeeded in doing so. While still remaining a partial paraplegic, she was ultimately able to walk again, and has three children. She gained her pilots license within a year of the accident, and went on to gain a Commercial pilot’s licence, an instructor’s license, eventually becoming a trained aerobatics flying instructor.

Now, she is an ambassador for Spinal Cure Australia and has been awarded her country’s highest civilian honour “Order of Australia” in 2001, for her service to the community, her inspiration and her work in raising awareness of spinal cord research.

She has published many books, is a motivational speaker and shows us there is nothing that the human spirit cannot overcome.


What is health ?

Everyone now seems to be in a discussion on remaining healthy all their lives.

Yes, a focus on health is necessary and a positive trait. For this, however, we need to understand what health truly is.

WHO defines health as “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”


Would we have had successful lives like Helen Keller, President Roosevelt, Stephen Hawking and millions of people who have contributed a great deal to humanity if their focus was on the limitation ? Could they have done what they did had they focused only on what difficulty they had? They became inspirations as they focused on what they could do instead of just focusing on their so called limitation.

Limitations are limitations only if we view them as predicaments. If there is an issue, we only need to handle them to the best of our ability. In a sense, when challenged, we can overcome every form of adversity and use even the worst of circumstances as a springboard for new growth and development.

An option is of course to indulge in self-pity that can only cause depression and stress, another prevalent condition in today’s world.

Yet another option is obsessing over the so-called ailment and turning into a hypochondriac.

In all areas, all we need to remember is that the choice is ours. No matter what the circumstances, we have a choice to define our life, of which health is of course, a component. An important component but nevertheless, just a component. By giving this component much more importance than it deserves, we can only do a disservice to ourselves and by extension, to our complete health that I would prefer to call well being.

The fact is we shall remain healthy when our body, mind and spirit is fully aligned. For this, we must understand that health is not just the absence of illness but a state of being over which we actually have complete control.

Nothing is impossible, President Roosevelt shows us !


When we happen to face any sickness of any kind of a health challenge, we tend to think that it is end of our life. This is the worst kind of attitude to have. It can only make one worse, not better. One of the great men we should all know about and get inspiration from is President Roosevelt.


“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent”, said Eleanor Roosevelt. She should know this better than others, as The Presidency of her husband, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was unique in many obvious ways. He was elected four times, serving just over 12 years before he died. We usually remember the American presidents who had a war to contend with or a huge domestic crisis. President Roosevelt had to tackle both, the Depression and World War II.


When President Roosevelt was president, from March 1933 to April 1945, it was not a secret that he had had a severe bout with polio. However, the extent of his disability was not well known. Not only could he not walk, but he could not stand without braces that ran the entire length of his legs.


In those days, people were generally, inhibited about referring to someone’s disability. The rare reference to him as “a cripple” was meant to cripple Roosevelt politically, and it always backfired as his leadership was indeed perfect and flawless.


Oddly enough the public today may be less aware of President Roosevelt’s disability than the public was when he was alive.


However it is essential that people know of his disability. Knowing this will make us understand that any disability is a disability only if we view it as such. In fact, knowing he was crippled shall make us understand him more completely. President Roosevelt could have died from the severity of his polio attack in 1921. As it was he lost all movement in his legs and even some strength in his right hand. For six to seven years he tried to regain some use of his legs, but his success was marginal.


Within the first year of contracting polio, when the extent of President Roosevelt’s disability became generally known in political circles as it could hardly be hidden in public appearances and his political future was written off.


When he successfully returned to politics in New York State, he was vastly relieved to find that his disability seemed to have had little impact on voters. When President Roosevelt ran for president in 1932 he and his advisers again worried about the impact of his disability, but it turned out to be an issue of no consequence. As a campaign issue it never surfaced during his career.

This does not mean that President Roosevelt was open or casual about his inability to walk. On the contrary, he wanted little or no mention of it, particularly any comment that conveyed sympathy. Even his family made no mention of it except if some practical arrangements were to be made.

As the years go by, fewer and fewer Americans will appreciate the fact that their forebears were quite happy to elect a disabled person as president of the United States.

We cannot allow the memory of President Roosevelt’s disability to fade as this will make us realize even more clearly that there is nothing the disabled cannot do.

With this knowledge, we all, whether disabled or able will surely believe nothing is impossible.

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