“Well, her life is over…” 

I remember hearing these words from my mother after I told her that in youth group we learned about how a teenage girl had jumped into shallow water, had broken her neck, and was paralyzed from the neck down. In response to my mother’s reaction, the word ‘quadriplegic’ became the scariest word I’d ever heard and it stayed scary for a long time.

Anyone around my age and in Christian circles knew at least parts of the Joni Eareckson story.  I remember thinking deeply about her circumstances and it captured my thoughts.  I think it was both because Joni was the same age as my older sister and also because I couldn’t imagine my own life, ballerina/tap dancer that I was at the time, without the ability to dance.  It was mind-boggling to think about.

And after a few years as the story continued, I marveled at how a history teacher/football coach named Ken Tada would be smitten and would take on all that must have come in the way of physical lifting and serving as he asked Joni to marry him. They remain an inspirational couple to me to this day.

My mother was wrong. And now many years later as Joni Eareckson Tada’s story continues, I will have the privilege this March of meeting Joni – someone whose story has never left me – here, at Biblical Seminary. Now THAT’s mind boggling!

Pam Smith
VP for Student Advancement


+1 # Jerry Borton 2012-11-27 16:41
When a friend of mine heard that I was about to attend Cincinnati Bible College (now Cincinnati Christian University); she gave me a copy of the book Joni and said, “you need to read this!" I grew up with cerebral palsy and like Joni I use a power wheelchair. I intended to go to Bible college to become a youth minister. God had other plans. Better plans.

For almost 6 years now I've been in the Area Director of the Greater Philadelphia office of Joni and Friends. I lead a staff of four and a small army of volunteers that help churches and others reach out to families affected by disabilities.

I have heard about many people locally, who like you prayed for “a young teenage girl who broke her neck." That girl turned out to be Joni. On Joni's behalf, thank you for your prayers! God has answered them in so many awesome ways. Joni and our team are looking forward to being with you in March and we are excited about our partnership with Biblical Theological Seminary.

Her life is So not over!
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