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JONI'S STORY


Joni Eareckson Tada is an American Christian author, artist, and founder and CEO of Joni and Friends, an "organization accelerating Christian ministry in the disability community". She wrote an autobiography entitled Joni and appeared in a film of the same name. She has a daily radio program also called Joni and Friends, which has over one million listeners each week.


"Cindy, I can hardly believe I’m coming up on 38 years of living life as a quadriplegic. Back in 1967, as a young teenager, I took a reckless dive into some shallow water in Chesapeake Bay that crushed my vertebrae and my neck, and that left me floating face down in the water, unable to move, unable to breathe. Thankfully, my sister pulled me up out of the water. They rushed me off to a hospital, where the doctors told me that I would be totally and completely paralyzed from the shoulders down for the rest of my life.


"I begged my friends to aid me in suicide. I was so depressed, so discouraged...and when I was even brave enough to think about living life sitting in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, without use of my hands, I begged my friends to aid me in suicide. I asked them to bring in their mothers’ sleeping pills, their father’s razor blades, anything to put me out of my misery."


Unable to use her hands after the accident, she learned how to paint by holding a brush in her mouth. She moved to California in the late 1970s, where she met Ken Tada, son of Japanese parents, whom she married on July 3, 1982. They continue to live in California.


Joni has grown spiritually through her physical suffering. She now ministers through her daily radio program, also called Joni and Friends, which has over one million listeners each week.

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