Shar­ing mu­sic helped Joni beat can­cer!

Af­ter a breast can­cer di­ag­no­sis left singer Joni Harms, 58, shaken and scared, she won­dered how she’d ever get through surgery and treat­ment. Lit­tle did she know that the mu­sic in her heart would help her heal— and help other pa­tients heal too!

Woman's World - - Contents -

Joni Harms stared in fear at the build­ing ahead of her. Can­cer Cen­ter, she read, as her hus­band, Jeff, led her in­side. As a mu­si­cian, the Canby, Ore­gon, na­tive knew this place: She’d per­formed for sick kids here many times. But this time, Joni was the pa­tient.

Days ear­lier, she’d got­ten the shock of her life when, af­ter a rou­tine mam­mo­gram, her doc­tor called her in for a biopsy of her right breast.

Please, let ev­ery­thing be okay, Joni had prayed in dis­be­lief. She’d al­ways been healthy, only ever tak­ing trips to the hos­pi­tal to give birth to her two chil­dren many years ago.

But Joni’s stom­ach dropped when she heard her doc­tor’s words, “I’m sorry—it’s can­cer.” All the for­mer rodeo queen and rancher could do was bow her head and pray. Lord, I know You have a plan for me. Help me to find a way through this.

Un­ex­pected strength

Weeks later, as Joni re­cov­ered from a lumpec­tomy, her doc­tor shared the good and bad news. “We got it all,” she said, as Joni and her fam­ily breathed a sigh of relief. “There was noth­ing in your lymph nodes, ei­ther. But, you’ll likely have to can­cel your mu­sic gigs, in­clud­ing your trip to Europe in two weeks, so you can rest and heal be­fore you start chemo­ther­apy.”

Though Joni re­spected her doc­tor’s ad­vice, some­thing deep in her heart told her she had to go ahead with her trip. “Mu­sic makes me happy,” she told Jeff. “I can’t let this stop me from do­ing what I love!”

So Joni packed her bags and she and her daugh­ter, Olivia, left for a tour of Ger­many, France and Switzer­land. And with each per­for­mance, Joni could feel the mu­sic filling her with strength to forge ahead.

A healing gift

Still, when Joni re­turned home to start chemo­ther­apy, she couldn’t help but feel afraid. To quiet her fears, she’d bring along her head­phones to each treat­ment, and as she’d sit

for hours next to the IV, Joni would lis­ten to the mu­sic she loved as peace filled her heart.

One day af­ter treat­ment, a nurse ap­proached her. “Would you per­form for us?” she asked, hope in her eyes.

“By all means!” Joni beamed. Mu­sic has helped me through all of this, she thought. I hope I’m not in too much pain to play.

A few days later, Joni sang for her fel­low pa­tients. As her voice filled the room, the at­mos­phere be­gan to shift. They’re smil­ing, Joni re­al­ized joy­fully, amazed as even her own pain be­gan to sub­side.

When she fin­ished, the room burst into ap­plause. “Encore!” ex­cited cheers rang out, as Joni felt a rush of joy.

“Please, tell me you’ll sing for us again!” one pa­tient said. And in that mo­ment, Joni knew she had to con­tinue. She re­turned to sing for the group each week, and even brought her CDS for them to lis­ten to when she left the group for the next phase of her treat­ment. Through 30 rounds of ra­di­a­tion ther­apy, Joni never missed a chance to sing the songs in her heart, ei­ther for her chemo group or on her sched­uled tour. To­day, she’s been in re­mis­sion for two years and is tour­ing world­wide with her new al­bum, Lucky 13. She also con­tin­ues to sing in hos­pi­tals across the coun­try. “Mu­sic is an ex­tra­or­di­nary gift,” Joni smiles. “And I am so blessed to have been able to use it to bring hap­pi­ness to peo­ple who were strug­gling like I was. It helped heal my body, mind and spirit!” —Deb­o­rah Evans Price & Alexan­dra Pol­lock

“Mu­sic is an in­te­gral tool for the preser­va­tion of our health” — Barry Bittman, M.D.

“God and mu­sic gave me strength to keep go­ing,” Joni says of her fight with breast can­cer in 2016 To­day, Joni sings songs of hope and joy for can­cer pa­tients and fans around the world

Joni ( top) now feels blessed to be healthy and have time with her kids, Olivia ( left) and Luke ( right) Joni (cen­ter) at Legacy Merid­ian Park Med­i­cal Cen­ter, where she had treat­ment and still per­forms her mu­sic

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