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Joni Eareckson Tada Faces Breast Cancer

By June 24, 2010

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Joni Eareckson Tada
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.

June 24, 2010 at 10:24 pm
(1) Sharie Shupp says:

Just heard this on Christian radio this afternoon. Our prayers are with you and Ken in this new opportunity to continue to share God’s love, grace, peace, comfort and hope!

June 25, 2010 at 1:48 am
(2) Mary says:

My prayers are with you Joni – breast cancer isn’t fun, but you are strong and you will get through this too.

June 25, 2010 at 2:49 pm
(3) pat rogers & karlyne wadley says:

Joining many others who love you to pray for you. We know God will lovingly care for you and Ken.

June 28, 2010 at 4:50 am
(4) Dianne says:

You have everything you need to fight this and with the Lord’s healing power you will have minimal disease. As a Stage II, five year cancer survivor, I applaud your strength and determination. Go Girl! Love to you and Ken.

June 28, 2010 at 1:33 pm
(5) Donna says:

I have met you, been a STM in NH, raised a son with CP, and most recently survived a horrid auto accident which has left me a mess. The best thing we have in common is our knowing God is in control, and needs to be seen…you show him WELL sister! Praying for your surgery and recovery,
Much love (to the Boston girls too)
Donna Edwinson

June 30, 2010 at 2:37 pm
(6) Kaye Bailey says:

Joni you are an inspiration. God continues to work through you. May you and Ken continue to be the recipients of His Mercy and Blessing. He will never to leave you or forake you.

July 2, 2010 at 4:49 pm
(7) Carolyn Dillon says:

Joni, I was just starting to read your book,”The God I Love” yesterday. I couldn’t put it down, loved your childhood stories. I met two friends for lunch and was telling them about this book and one of them shared you just had breast cancer. I didn’t know but now that I do I can pray for total healing for your body. We love you and appreciate your ministry and strong Faith and wonderful husband who stands by you and supports you all the way. God Bless, Love, Dillons

July 5, 2010 at 9:09 am
(8) Kathy says:

Dear Joni…Been reading your Diamonds in the Dust..my favorite of all of your devotionals…Im still growing up in the Lord…LOL. Im so sorry you have this one more trial to go through but I know our God is able to deliver you. Hold tight to HIS faithfulness and know that you are being lifted in prayers. Ive been praying much for you, telling myself, if Joni can go through all that she has and is going through, I can go through it all too, with God’s help. Love you and continued prayer for you and Ken. Kathy

July 8, 2010 at 8:17 pm
(9) Sam Kukich says:

Joni, you have touched my life since the day I first heard about you and your journey – I just completed a Bible study using your video on “When God Weeps” and How and why our sufferings matter to the Almighty – the Lord has and is using you in wonderful ways to share His light – I love you and pray you are well soon…Sam

July 10, 2010 at 3:12 pm
(10) Irene Matthews says:

Joni, So sorry to hear of your latest challenge confronting breast cancer, but am positive you will meet this with God’s enduring help as well as that from your doctors. I am a 10 year breast cancer survivor and there have been even more advancements since my diagnosis and treatment. I will pray for the wisdom of the doctors and God’s best for you. You are an amazing woman with strength and courage and such a ministry to others. God bless you always.

July 12, 2010 at 8:45 pm
(11) Jim Alice Cullars says:

Joni – I heard on my local Faith Radio Station 89.1 out of Montgomery AL that you now had breast cancer. I am a breast cancer survivor and you will be too. This November will be 15 years and I praise God totally. One thing I want to pass on to you is that the mastectomy is an almost painless surgery, from the actual pain. There is a lot of emotional pain that may take some time to sink in, but with God’s help and your attitude, you will be fine. I love to hear you because you are so upbeat. My prayers will be with you, your family and the medical staff as they treat you. I look forward to reading about your recovery.

July 14, 2010 at 3:29 pm
(12) Rachel Thomas says:

I am sure you will come through this with a clean slate. Just got to know about it . God will help you & Ken to battle this through & it will be the greatest testimony for all of us. We get so much strength from you and now it is our turn to pray for you.
Love & Blessings to you both.

July 16, 2010 at 10:16 am
(13) Elsie says:

I am so sorry. I know all about it. I have just come through
surgery and radiation alone. GOD TRULY HAS BEEN MY STRENGTH AND HOPE. A month after radiation I co-hosted a trip to Israel and Jordan. Two weeks later I went on a five country tour of Europe and saw the Passion Play. A few days later I left to stay with my handicapped grand daughter. As you know GOD isn’t surprised & HE’S RIGHT BESIDE US.
Blessings to you. With love, Elsie

July 18, 2010 at 7:52 am
(14) Bjørg M Molvik says:

“The Lord knows the way Through the wilderness,
all I have to do is follow!
Strength for today is mine all the way, and all I need for tomottow.”
Love from Bjørg, deaf-interpretor that met you many years ago in Norway. I know something about your pain. The good Lord has led me through chemo, operation and radiation! Meet you in Prayer!

July 20, 2010 at 12:13 am
(15) susan phillips says:

Dear Joni,
you have been a source of great encouragement to me as i battled with breast cancer in 2007 and again was diagnosed in 2010.i always rem yr smile through it all,,,as i hold on to our lord’s promise that He will never leave us or forsake us.please read 2.chronicles 20…(as this was my sustenance that the battle belongs to the lord)god bless

July 20, 2010 at 12:16 am
(16) susan phillips says:

Dear Joni,
you have been a source of great encouragement to me as i battled with breast cancer in 2007 and again was diagnosed in 2010.i always rem yr smile through it all,,,as i hold on to our lord’s promise that He will never leave us or forsake us.please read 2.chronicles 20…(as this was my sustenance that the battle belongs to the lord)god bless susan

September 10, 2010 at 10:09 am
(17) maria geithner says:

I am so sorry that you have to do throw this cancer thing, but with God all is well. I pray you can keep on being strong. I wish I had half the faith you have, wow! I just read your book(Joni) I am so sorry,your book touched my heart and now your faith again has touched me. I will pray for you and selfish as it sounds can you pray for me, I want to stand strong like you have. God bless you

September 10, 2010 at 2:47 pm
(18) Emi says:

God bless you again and again!!! You are an inspiration anyday! Your strength can only be from an undeniable source! Your miracles have only just begun,… you are a whole bunch already!!!

Plenty of love from Nigeria!

September 25, 2010 at 4:35 pm
(19) San Tjoa says:

Dear Joni,

I wish God’s strength unto you in your suffering.In
opinion God wants to bless you more in the knowledge
of Jesus.I myself am suffering from schizophrenia and
I know from experience that suffering is a part of
life.It tends to make you spiritually much richer.
And God knows how much you can bear (1 Cor 10:13).

Greetings from the Netherlands!

October 19, 2010 at 4:10 pm
(20) Katherine says:

I first read your book when I was 12 years old, and and actually had the privilege of hearing you speak at our church in fFullrrton on a Disability Awareness month, it has been now been 27 years since I first read your book, you have been my inspiration all my adult life an have given me the courage to face many of my own struggles and illness, thank you for being such an outstanding example of a Christ follower .

October 24, 2010 at 5:15 pm
(21) Rosemary says:

I read your book in 1975 at age 12 and was forever impacted by it. You have spoken at my church (EVFree Fullerton) and I have never had a chance to express my gratitude to you. As the sister of a lovely girl with Down Syndrome who has benefited from ministries such as yours, I want to thank you. Thank you for all you have done to demonstrate that beautiful teaching of Jesus’ about how a man’s disability is not due to inherited sin, but is to be used for God’s glory.

In this season with your cancer, God will continue to shine through your life, I know. I pray for healing for you, but also for a richer walk and that you enjoy all the fruit that will accompany your inevitable growth from this trial. May God bless you and Ken. (P.S. I know you’ll want to keep plowing away at your desk, but do get some rest)!

November 4, 2010 at 4:14 am
(22) Ope says:

Joni ,i admire u sooo much. I know the one and true God whom we serve will never leave nor forsake u.’though i walk through the valley of the shadow of death,i wil fear no evil,for U are with me.’ His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Love u Joni and i’ll be praying 4 u.

November 5, 2010 at 10:58 am
(23) Miralda Paula says:

Hi Joni, you are an inspiration and a blessing to me and to others.
I have cancer and is going right now through chemo. Know exactly how it feels. God’s Word and His Presence is with you during every situation. He is also our strength. Isaiah 46:3-4. Listen to Me, O house of Jacob…..(Joni)…..who have been upheld by Me from birth,who have been carried from the womb;Even to your old age,I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear;even I will carry,and will deliver you. Be blessed. In Christ, Miralda Paula

November 22, 2010 at 5:39 am
(24) Frehiwot says:

Joni how do you feel now. I just read the breast case now. Your life changed my life. God be with you for everything.

Your life teaches us many and many

Frehiwot from Ethiopia

January 30, 2011 at 7:18 am
(25) Heather says:

Hi Joni, I first read your book “Joni” in the mid 1980′s. I have just recently re-read that book again some 27 years later – through very different eyes – and with a very different appreciation and understanding of God…

So I decided to look your name up on Google and discovered that you have now been diagnosed with breast cancer – since June 2010! While I certainly admire your continued faith in God, I will pray for you Joni. You are truly and inspiration to everyone, especially those with a disability.

God has obviously decided to give you yet another difficult task (test) to deal with, but which you will take in your stride along with your devotion and faith – as always.

God bless you Joni
Love Heather from Australia

November 24, 2012 at 8:34 pm
(26) sammye rosenlund says:

Joni. hello. I just saw you on Huckmail Ed and i am inspired. I will pray for you to be cancer free. I’m about to go through scoliosis back surgery having my own pity party because of the 6 weeks to 6 months of recovery. Then led me to watch you.what a wimp I’m being.praise God for you and Kens ministry.

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