|Joni Eareckson Tada
Photo © Getty Images/David McNew
Forty-three years ago a teenager dove into a shallow lake and received a spinal cord injury that left her paralyzed from the neck down. That was hard news for an active teen to bear, and Joni Eareckson was angry, confused, and wanted to die. She suffered, but turned her pain into advocacy for the disabled. Confined to a wheelchair when her peers were dancing and climbing mountains, Joni tore down walls of stigma and blew open doors of opportunity for other quadriplegics. Now she faces a new challenge - a diagnosis of breast cancer.
Her cancer was diagnosed with a biopsy, and she is scheduled for surgery on Monday, June 28. Her comprehensive diagnosis will not be known until after additional tests and surgery has been done. Joni has the support of her husband Ken Tada, to whom she has been married for 28 years. "We are confident Joni is in very good hands," said Ken Tada. No stranger to suffering, Joni Eareckson Tada rests in her faith in God to pull her through this new journey. "Yes, it's alarming, but rest assured that Ken and I are utterly convinced that God is going to use this to stretch our faith, brighten our hope and strengthen our witness to others," said Tada.
Joni Eareckson Tada is a well-known evangelical Christian author, painter, speaker, vocalist, and disability advocate - head of Joni and Friends International Disability Center, Ken and Joni Tada are now a ministry team that provides wheelchairs, family retreats, and church ministry training for those with special needs. She has appeared with the Billy Graham organization, on Larry King Live, and has been the recipient of honorary doctorates and awards, including the Society of World Changers. Now a youthful 60 years old, Mrs. Tada refuses to be beaten by illness or disability, and still paves the road for others. I wish her well and hope for the best treatment possible.