Joni Eareckson Tada, an internationally known advocate for people with disabilities, has received a cancer diagnosis for the second time.
The founder and CEO of Joni and Friends in Agoura Hills, California, Tada, 69, is also an award-winning artist, speaker, and author of more than 50 books.
A seasoned warrior when it comes to dealing with serious health issues, Tada has endured 51 years of quadriplegia, chronic pain and a previous battle against stage 3 breast cancer eight years ago. In 2010, Tada underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy treatment; after five years, she was declared cancer free.
With her husband, Ken, at her side, Tada underwent tests last week on a small nodule which had developed over the site of her mastectomy. After biopsies, doctors discovered a small cancerous tumor within the nodule.
"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," said Tada.
Tada shared with her Joni and Friends staff that she will undergo outpatient surgery to remove the cancer on Monday, Nov. 26.
"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?"
Tada's prayer request is the number one item on the Joni and Friends website.
"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 said in a press release. "And of course, that my surgeon shows great skill in surgery. After all, we want him to get it all.'"
"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," Doug Mazza, Joni and Friends president, and COO said in a press release.
"We know that the best support we can provide Joni is prayer," the press release continued. "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."
When asked her thoughts on a second cancer diagnosis, Tada added, "Jesus is ecstasy beyond compare and if new hardships draw us closer to Him, I'm more than content with it."
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.