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Joni Eareckson Tada diagnosed with cancer

AGOURA HILLS, Calif. (BP)–Joni Eareckson Tada, an internationally disability advocate as a quadriplegic, has been diagnosed with breast cancer, according to a June 23 news release from the A. Larry Ross public relations firm.

Tada, 60, is the founder and chief executive officer of Joni and Friends International Disability Center in Agoura Hills, Calif., and an artist and author.

“I’ve often said that our afflictions come from the hand of our all-wise and sovereign God, who loves us and wants what is best for us,” Tada said, according to the news release. “So, although cancer is something new, I am content to receive from God whatever He deems fit for me. Yes, it’s alarming, but rest assured that Ken [her husband] 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.”

Doug Mazza, president of the Joni and Friends organization, said Tada will undergo several more tests followed by surgery within a few days, when the extent of the cancer will be determined.

Tada will receive treatment based on the findings from the surgery. “Thankfully, my quadriplegia does not significantly impact either the surgery or the treatment,” she said. “I’m like any other woman who has breast cancer. I want to pour all my energies into getting better.”

Tada was 17 when, in 1967, she was injured in a diving accident that rendered her a quadriplegic. During two years of rehabilitation, she spent long months learning how to paint with a brush between her teeth. Her high-detail fine art paintings and prints have become collectors’ items.

Her autobiography “Joni” and a feature film of the same name released by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association have introduced her to people around the world. She has served on the National Council on Disability and is senior associate for disability concerns for the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. She and her husband were married in 1982.

Updates of Tada’s recovery will be posted to the “Joni’s Corner” section of the Joni and Friends ministry website at www.joniandfriends.org.
Compiled by Baptist Press editor Art Toalston.

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