The story of Jonnie Erickson-a girl who was born to John Rekson and Lindy in 1920, who accidentally drowned and faced death, but recovered with quadriplegia and eventually entered a normal life!
On 3rd July 1967, at the age of 17, Jonnie was enjoying swimming in waters of Pessasic beach. As she was trying swimming in various positions, all of a sudden her head got entangled and hit against sea rocks. Jonnie who lied beneath the sea drowned and unconscious was rescued and brought to shore by her friend Kathy. Her body underwent a series of surgeries. Jonnie did not cry when all her beautiful hairs were cut off or when the Doctor checked her sensation by pricking with Needle all over her body and she did not feel any pain. The 4th and 5th cervical spine were fractured. Spinal cord of the area was severely damaged.
After several months of hospital stay, parents brought her home, into her room well decorated with flowers , greeting cards and her most favorite paintings- all bought by her friends and relatives. She tried to smile; Putting an end to all hope, one day the Doctor advised to take back the college fee as she had absolute loss of motor function. She felt as if a thousand watt current was passing through her brain.
One day two intimate friends came home to visit her. As soon as they saw the ugly appearance of bedridden Johnny, they ran out. Jonnie saw one of them vomiting outside. She cried so bitterly that day. On her insisting, Jonnies friend have her a mirror. Looking at her changed countenance on mirror, Jonnie cried aloud.
Thinking of the transition of her life Jonnie wept. Despair and the information from the books she read brought her to panicky stage. She shouted aloud that God does not exist. Abused God; Jonnies mother who could not take all these covered her face and wept.
One of those Xmas nights…Amidst the silence, from somewhere a carol song fell in her ears. A coolness and calmness slowly crept into her mind; She heard a sweet voice within her grieving heart , as if someone was standing in front of her and whisperingt Those that looked unto Jesus became radiant; Their faces were not ashamed’’. The picture of God became clear in her mind. She could feel an uncontrollable joy flowing towards her heart. That night she slept peacefully. From the books that broke down her expectations, she returned back to God. Even though there was no physical changes, her mind was getting stronger. She got the confidence that even in that condition she could achieve something. .
After prolonged occupational and rehabilitation therapy, she practiced writing by holding pen in between teeth and drawing with brush similarly. Next Xmas Jonnie got shifted to RaballosAttigos Hospital in California. There she practiced to eat with belted hand and operate motor connected wheel chair. Only when people stared at her as she came out on wheelchair , she became considerate of those who depend on wheel chair like her. This thought lead her to form the organization named “Jonnie and Friends”. It is her understanding that in all situations, she can be a relief to others that lead her to this attempt. Through letters, TV, e mail and cinema Jonnie is becoming inspiring wheels to thousands. At present she is performing as the vice president of American President’s prayer cell as well. She has already supplied above 16,000wheelchairs to different countries including India through an organization called’ Wheels for the World”35 books including her autobiography, preaching tours in 35 nations- all are her achievements so far. In 1982 she married Prof. Tada. On 11th September 2001 when America underwent the terrorist attack, It was Jonnie who delivered the first consoling message from the Nation’s pentagon. At the age of 87 also she is very active.
The life of Jonnie on wheelchair is a canvas; God Almighty continues to paint new new pictures on it in multiple colors. Those in Christ do not have to fear whatever might come in life. That is why even though all her 4 limbs are paralyzed Jonnie can continue to be a consolation and comfort to many till today.