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‘An Extraordinary Gift’: Singer Joni Harms Reveals How Music Helped Her Beat Cancer


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. With each performance, Joni could feel the music filling her with strength to forge ahead. 

To read more about what happens next, pick up this week’s copy of Woman’s World, on stands now!

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