Joni and Friends celebrates 45 years of disability ministry

Nonprofit has distributed 220,000 wheelchairs to low-resource countries around the world

Agoura Hills, CA, Feb. 26, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- When Joni Eareckson Tada broke her neck while diving into the Chesapeake Bay at the age of 17, she did not know how her resulting quadriplegia and her wheelchair would become her platform to the world.  
This year marks the 45th anniversary since the founding of the international disability ministry Joni and Friends. For the past four-and-a-half decades, Joni and Friends has provided practical help and Gospel hope to individuals living with disability around the world. The faith-based nonprofit has distributed over 220,000 wheelchairs to low-resource countries. It has also provided respite retreats to tens of thousands of individuals living with disability and their family members. 

The organization continues to grow. Joni and Friends has launched Joni’s House disability programming around the globe to provide medical and mobility support, patient advocacy, essential resources, and spiritual care to families living with disability. This year, Joni and Friends will break ground on new Joni’s House locations in Serbia and East St. Louis, Illinois. The East St. Louis location will be the first domestic Joni’s House program.  
Despite the chronic pain and health complications that come with living as a quadriplegic for 56 years, Joni continues to share hope through hardship. Her inspirational daily radio program reaches 1 million listeners each week. Her latest book, The Practice of the Presence of Jesus, was released in late 2023 and by January it had earned spot on the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association’s bestsellers list. It is one of more than 60 books Joni has authored or co-authored. 

Joni said she is astonished at what God has done through 45 years of ministry at Joni and Friends. 
"I'm amazed how God used one girl's broken neck to ultimately build a global ministry to people like her,” Joni said. “God has done—and continues to do—astonishing things through Joni and Friends and 45 years of ministry is an astounding milestone! The same Gospel that changed me in my wheelchair is transforming the lives of countless disabled people who are hungry for hope in Jesus Christ."  

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About Joni and Friends   
For 45 years, Joni and Friends has provided the hope of the Gospel and practical care to people living with disability across the globe. Ministry programs include Joni’s House, Wheels for the World, Family Retreats, and disability ministry training. Joni and Friends also delivers daily inspirational media through radio programs and podcasts. To find out more, please visit  


45 years of disability ministry

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