In 1967 Joni Eareckson Tada was injured in a diving accident at 17 years old, leaving her in a quadriplegic state with minimal use of her hands. After two years of rehabilitation, Joni re-entered the community with new skills and a fresh determination to help others in similar situations.
Joni and Friends began in 1979 at Joni’s house as she and her friends responded to the many questions and needs pouring in from families affected by disability who read Joni’s books or had seen the movie of her life. From the beginning, Joni, her staff, and volunteers devoted their energies to developing Christ-centered programs and services which would help meet the spiritual and practical needs of disabled people and their families, including Family Retreats, the distribution of wheelchairs and Bibles worldwide to people affected by disability, and church training at local and national disability ministry conferences. Joni and Friends continues to reach out around the world to people and families affected by disability with the love of Christ and the practical help they need.