Joni Eareckson Tada, founder and CEO of Joni and Friends, has received her second cancer diagnosis. The award-winning artist, speaker, and author is internationally known for her work as an advocate for people with disabilities.
The 69-year-old has dealt with serious health issues for the majority of her life, having quadriplegia for 51 years, chronic pain, and a past battle against stage 3 breast cancer. Tada underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy treatment in 2010 and was declared cancer-free five years later.
Last week, Tada underwent tests on a small nodule that had developed over the site of her mastectomy. The doctors found a small cancerous tumor within this nodule after biopsies. Tada’s husband, Ken, remained faithfully by her side during the tests.
"When I received the unexpected news of cancer from my oncological surgeon, I relaxed and smiled, knowing that my sovereign God loves me dearly and holds me tightly in His hands. What good is it if we only trust the Lord when we understand His ways? That only guarantees a life filled with doubts," Tada stated.
On November 26th, Tada will undergo surgery to remove the cancer. She shared this with her Joni and Friends staff:
"I am inspired by the many valiant people with disabilities and their families whom we serve every day at Joni and Friends; they are people who constantly persevere through personal crises. They do not doubt God's glorious purposes for their lives, why should I?"
"Please pray that God will be glorified through all of this, that He will be trusted, extolled and exalted; that this new challenge becomes a platform for showcasing His grace, as well as the giving of the Gospel," Tada mentioned in a press release. "And of course, that my surgeon shows great skill in surgery. After all, we want him to get it all."
Doug Mazza, Joni and Friends president and COO, stated in a press release: "Joni and Friends is a ministry well acquainted with suffering, facing the crushing needs of people with disabilities around the world every day. It is no surprise that our founder would be so positive in the face of what otherwise might be alarming news."
"We know that the best support we can provide Joni is prayer," he added. "All are encouraged to join Joni and Ken, and the entire Joni and Friends team in asking God to use this next, new health challenge to advance His Kingdom among those who need His hope and grace."
Even in the midst of her second cancer diagnosis, Tada continues to have a positive spirit, stating that "Jesus is ecstasy beyond compare and if new hardships draw us closer to Him, I'm more than content with it."
CBN News reports that updates and prayer requests regarding Joni's health will be posted to the Joni and Friends blog and Facebook page. Well-wishers are invited to post assurances of their prayers to Joni and her husband, Ken.
For anyone in need of support with a personal cancer battle, please contact [email protected] for resources and encouragement.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Alberto E. Rodriguez/Staff