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A magical life: How NDIS support helped Shelley become a published author

Shelley Maree Hunter/Spiegel is living a magical life despite the trauma and suffering she experienced during her early years and into adulthood.

With a challenging upbringing and a brain injury as a result of a serious car accident, Shelley has come a long way with NDIS supports, which have helped her achieve her dreams.

The most recent dream is the publication of her book, ‘Face of Faith: How The Broken Pieces of My Past Turned Into a Magical Life’. Shelley now wants to inspire others to believe in themselves and learn how to heal from their own painful experiences.

“My hope is for others to be inspired to overcome their challenges, learn to love themselves, empower others to believe in themselves and achieve their dreams and goals.”

Read more about Shelley’s story below. 

Early days

At 10 months old, Shelley was abandoned by her mum and placed with a foster care family. At four years old, her father’s parents – who had been searching for her – found her and eventually won guardianship of her.

Her grandfather, who was the full-time carer for her grandmother, sexually abused Shelley from when she was six to eight years old.

“When I was eight, I moved in with my father and we trained horses as my father and his partner were long-distance endurance riders.”
Shelley says the shed where she lived with her father had no electricity, a generator and a pit toilet out the back.
“We got water from the dam and all bathed in it. I think I smelt like carp most of the time!”

By the time Shelley was 14, she had been earning money working as her dad’s farmhand and picking carrots at a local farm, and she decided to travel to WA in search of her mother “with $50 in my pocket”.

Her maternal grandmother was an Aboriginal woman and a member of the Stolen Generation.
While living in WA, Shelley battled with addiction, was in a co-dependent partnership with a “good man with behavioural problems”, and had three children.
After moving back to Victoria, years later, after the birth of her three children, the family experienced the tragic loss of Shelley’s partner and the father of her children.

Trauma, endurance and optimism

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