Whitney Cerak

We, the Cerak family, are elated beyond description at Whitney’s return home. It is so much more than we ever imagined three months ago.We would like to restate our plans of not speaking to the media. There is still much on the road to Whitney’s full recovery. We want to thank the media for the respect they have shown of our privacy in this time. And ask that the same courtesy given us would be extended to our family and friends.

Monday, June 19, 2006

June 19, 2006 "Has not my hand made all these things?"

" Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the Lord. "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word." Isaiah 66:2

We are continuing to thank God for His mercy and His grace. Grace that goes beyond my human comprehension. Grace that even in spite of my sins and my short comings, covers me over with love and forgiveness. I thank Him each day for His amazing grace, without it I am nothing.

The days seem to be stacking higher and higher in favor of Whitney. This was another good day today and we praise God for it. After an awesome Father's Day Whit had a hard time getting to sleep but when she did, she slept great. We are so thankful for those good sleeping times because we know that in those times her brain gets to rest and recover. This day of therapy was another sweet step for her. She was able to traverse the length of the parallel bars, twice, while holding herself up with BOTH arms. Yes, she is able to put weight on the elbow that was damaged in the accident and hop the entire length both times. What a praise! Oh, it tired her out but she was smiling at the end.

Then later she was given an different wheelchair and practiced getting herself into it from a bench seat. She did a couple practice runs and then wheeled back to her room. When she got there she was able to transfer from the chair to her bed with me simply smiling and watching. It was a joy to behold. Holly her very good friend was there to witness the event and got to spend the afternoon. She and Whit had a great time swapping stories and finding out what had been going on in each other's life.

Whitney had a special afternoon then as well. She and a few others from the Center went on a little outdoor adventure to get some ice cream. The therapists gave her some cash to purchase ice cream and when her turn came she gave her order, paid for it and asked for the receipt. Wow! Not sure she ever asked for a receipt before!! I loved it.

This evening she had a great time at dinner with her roommate from college. They then sat in her room, Whitney, Emily and Carly and chatted about college and all their friends. She is doing so well conversing making great eye contact and now has more inflextion in her voice than before.

We thank God for you who are praying for not only our situation but all those involved in the accident. We add our prayers with yours and as we do God continues to use this for His good.

Thankyou again, from our hearts.

In Christ alone, Whitney's proud earthly father


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again, I am so proud of your daughter Whitney. I look forward to hearing about her recovery on a daily basis. She is one tough cookie! And you are some very supportive and extremely loving parents!Keep up the great work!
~The Langes, Aurora, IL

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome progress Whit! There are so many lessons you and your family teach me each and every day! Even if it is to always ask for a receipt! Keep up the good work!

7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go for it, Whitney! So proud of you, and by the way, you have a great family! You go, Dad!

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Maria said...

Wow! Each and every day I am so impressed with the news of Whitney's progress. What a strong person she is! I continue to pray for her and your family every day.

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it is so good to hear of whitney accomplishing such "normal" things! who ever thought it would be a joy to witness whitney get ice cream with some new friends! i am praising god tonight for allowing you this new perspective and all he is teaching you! praise god from whom ALL blessings flow.

i am praying for another great night of sleep for all of the ceraks!

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I praise the Lord with you for God's provision each day. For all involved this truly is a time of "learning to lean on Him." Thank you for sharing.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Tasha said...

Amazing is our God! Yay Whitney! I love being encouraged daily by your progress! Your family is amazing, but I think you already know that! Upland is still praying for you!

In Him,

8:19 PM  
Anonymous jessica from Illinois said...

Several years ago my daughter's kidney's started to shut down. People, that to this day, I do not know, were praying for her. I'm forever grateful. I appreciate that you continue to share with the world. God will continue to use all of this in a powerful way. I'm continuing to keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Rejoicing with those who rejoice and mourning with those who are mourning. P.S. My daughter is 18 now and starting college in the fall (bi-vocational missions)! To God be the Glory. Let's all keep pressing on together. Sincerely your sister in Christ, Jessica

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I try to end each day reading your posts about Whitney, your family, and being reminded again how good God is. Like many others, these posts have renewed and strengthened my faith in God and in His children here on earth. Thanks for continuing to share witness; in a different way, but in a way that touches so many you've never met. Only God knows what's in store.

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your updates are so inspiring, and lift my spirits every day. When I think I've had a tough day, I'm given the jolt I need to count my blessings when I read the Cerak's messages, instead of dwelling on the negative. Whitney, please keep up that great attitude and preserverance. I know you already know how blessed you are to have such a great and supportive family. You, Whitney, will one day reach your goal, because you have what it takes to get there, and because I know that God will help you through it all; the times you may feel discouraged, he will encourage you. I pray for you daily, and hope each day will continue to brighten as you gain physical strength and feel the load becoming lighter. What an inspiration you are!

8:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What beautiful verse, Isaiah 66:2. Yes, He has created all this, you are humble and tremble at His Word. Cerak's, you are favored by God because you are humble and tremble at His Word! You are a living example that God's Word is true! Thank you for giving the Author of your story the glory and for keeping His Word in the center of it all! That is where the power of this blog comes from! Glory to God our Creator and Author and finisher of our faith!
I pray that His Word would flow through me in the same way, that lives would be changed for His glory. Thank you for your shining example. We love you!

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Julee from Indiana said...

Thank you for sharing your family's life this way. Please keep this up, even if comments and responses decrease! Makes my problems seem so small! I trust you are getting details down in writing or on the computer .... you need to write a book one day in the future when the time is right!

9:21 PM  
Blogger Darcy Keith said...

I am really happy to hear of Whitney's progress! It's good that her friends are there to engage her memory, keeping it active, yet giving her the needed time to rest. Sometimes, it's hard to "stop" going 50 miles/hour when things ar going well, but God reminds us in Psalms 23 that he maketh me lie in green pastures. That was one of the things that I had a hard time with in my recovery, as well. the excitement and smiles of recovering

3:45 AM  
Blogger Darcy Keith said...

I am really happy to hear of Whitney's progress! It's good that her friends are there to engage her memory, keeping it active, yet giving her the needed time to rest.

Sometimes, it's hard to "stop" going 50 miles/hour when things ar going well, but God reminds us in Psalms 23 that he maketh me lie in green pastures. That was one of the things that I had a hard time with in my recovery, as well. The excitement and smiles of seeing oneself recovering on a daily basis is sometimes overwhelming, but GREAT! I'm do glad that she is recovering so well!

3:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful to read of Whitney's progress. We continue to pray for you all and feel as if you are family. God bess!
Joanne in PA

4:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



5:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading the progress is such a heartwarming event...it is uplifting that your family gives all of the praise to God, especially in the times we live in. May God continue to bless Whitney, your family and the families who lost their loved ones.

~Kelli Burke-Sanchez
Muncie, IN

5:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also echo the "thank you" for keeping us posted on Whitney's progress. We know that you don't have to update us, but we love to rejoice with you in her recovery. I feel priveleged to be able to pray for Whitney and her recovery along with so many others.

5:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay Whit!.. I see you're working on covering all the important bases first.. how to buy ice cream! :)

Thanks for the continuous updates on Whitney's progress. We so appreciate being able to log on and find out how she's doing.

You're in our prayers Cerak's! Bless the Lord oh my soul.. Great things He has done!

5:47 AM  
Anonymous Janice said...

I want you to know that i made your blog my homepage to follow your progress, just as i had the Vandyn's blog before. I too am a believer for many years, and I am daily moved and inspired by your journey. What a gift your family have been given for a second chance, that each one of us who read your story wouldn't give to experience the same joy with our loved ones who have passed on!! This is indeed being used by God to bring others to taste and see, who don't yet know of His loving goodness!!! The praise is ALL God's!!

6:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have read about Whitney and how well she is doing. This is such great news. My heart really goes out to Laura's family as well.

We recently lost our nephew (17) in a car accident and it is so hard to understand how God works sometimes. But, your story has given our family hope that things do happen for a reason and there is a bigger plan.

Be strong. - From Mooresville, IN -

6:25 AM  
Anonymous Bob Davis said...

I am a professor at TU, and a friend of Carly's. While I have not yet met Whitney in person, it has been very encouraging to read your blog and to see the Lord's grace get woven ever more deeply into your family.

7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys are amazing. We're so proud of you. We love you. Thanks tons for the other day.

7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I am amazed each day of the strength that Whitney and your family has and the faith is absolutely amazing. God is such an awesome God! He is a true miracle to all who has come to know him. My faith grows stronger each day and I continually pray for my continued faith as I learn from you. My prayers are with the VanRyn family also. I can not imagine the anguish that each of you have gone through. May each of you be blessed with God's grace.

7:55 AM  
Anonymous emily said...

Way to go Whitney! Keep up the great work! You and your family continue to inspire me. Hope you enjoyed your ice cream! I continue to pray for you daily.

--Emily, Kent OH

8:22 AM  
Blogger Danielle said...

I am always encouraged by Whitney's progress. God is faithful. I look forward to seeing what He has planned for her life. Thank you for keeping us all a part of her life.

8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Morning. You all amaze me. The love of God amazes me. The blessings he pours upon your family amaze me. I do not know you personally but I read your blog every morning. I continue to pray for Whitney and her speedy recovery. I pray for your entire family and the Van Ryn's as well. I pray God will comfort them and bring them to a place of peaceful memories with no more pain or suffering. Please continue to update when you can. You provide strength to all of us who think we have none. THANK YOU!

8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am overjoyed each time I read about Whitney's progress! I seriously sit at the computer and cry joyful tears while I read. I also appreciate the encouraging scripture at the beginning of each post and how big your hearts are for the unsaved. God bless you all! I'll keep praying :)
-Charity Smith (a co-worker/classmate/friend of Whit's)

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is such fantastic news and I'm so happy to read of Whitney's progress. You guys don't know what you have done for me and my own faith as well as many others I'm sure. I am so thankful for Whitney and her courage and strength as well as that of everyone involved. I pray that Whitney continues to make such strong progress and will continue to pray for her. God Bless!!

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Believing with you that her mind will be restored!! She is doing really well and I know you are encouraged. Praying for all!

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am one of the many who don't know you, but look forward to reading about your progress every day. I believe God has given you this opportunity to reach out to those who don't know him and renew the faith of those who have strayed. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

10:44 AM  
Blogger Al B. said...

Newell, Colleen, Carly, Sandra and WHITNEY,

Hi. I was out of town the last 5 days at a family wedding and was really missing "the blog." In fact, I kept thinking about wanting to get home to get updated on how all of you were doing.

It still amazes me how this story has touched so many people as well as how it's touched me personally.

GO WHIT!!! Keep up the good work!!

Al B.
Pittsburgh, PA

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi wonderful to think how far she has come to be able to leave for a steak dinner. Good Job Whitney!!

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading your blog is always my "thought for the day". Thank you so much for sharing your story with the world. Your witness to your faith will have, has already had, a rippling effect on everyone.
May our God continue to walk very close to you all. Go Whitney!!!!!

11:41 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

Had an absolutely incredible devotion in PB&J on Sunday. It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord provides just the right things to say just when we need to say them. And that's just what he did this past Sunday. I believe that the Lord is using your testimony way beyond anything anyone of us can imagine. We heard all about the Pastors visit last week with Whitney! How amazing is our God hey? Thank you for your awesome testimonies. May the Lord continue to sustain you during this time and may your hearts be blessed as He works in and through you as you remain faithful to Him.
Because He Lives,
Pat and Carol Scott

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Corky said...

I feel like I'm in summer bible school. Thank you for sharing with us each day.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whitney, I am so proud of you! That is amazing that you could get in and out of a wheelchair all by yourself! Praise the Lord for what he has done in your life. I am praying for you!

12:59 PM  
Blogger KatieJoeandGrace said...

Praise God. His Grace is amazing and everlasting!

2:01 PM  
Anonymous The Boyce Family said...

We have cept you on our prayers everyday. We enjoy hearing the progress Whitney is making. Annie would like Whit to Know that she wishes to visit her but has been busy with work and her spanish class and cant wait to play soccer with her again. Gaylord is filled with joy with the news of Whitney. There is omething about Whitney in the paper everyday.We're also praying for the Vanryns. We hope to see you soon. Keep up the good work Whit!!!
God Bless You
The Boyce Family

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I am from Canada. I have been following your story. I cannot tell you how my heart swells with joy and praise when I read your story. I am so happy for you and thank you for sharing in your joy. You are an incredible family!

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still praying in Phoenix,AZ
Love you all!!

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laura VanRyn Video Tribute:

For all of you who did not know Laura...

5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laura VanRyn Video Tribute:

For all of you who did not know Laura...

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anonymous at 5:45 p.m.

Thanks SOOO much for the link to Laura's video tribute. I did not know her at all, yet I LOVED the video tribute. What a remarkable girl!! And, what a loving family she has. She must be so proud of them for being so gracious in their grief.

Sarah LaBella Koch
Wheaton, Illinois

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So wonderful to hear of Whitney's progress. You all are in our thoughts and prayers on a regular basis.
Keep pressing on and looking up!
Jim & Edna Lake

7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!

I am moved every day that I come to this blog to check on Whitney's progress.

I know neither family except in the family of God.

I rejoice with the Cerak family for the blessing of Whitney and keep the VanRyn family in my constant prayers.

One will probably be never able to express how your faith has moved people across the world. We can do all things thru Christ that strengthens us.

Also, thank you to the poster for the Laura VanRyn tribute link. God needed another angel.

Can anyone tell me the name of the song (and artist) that is playing in the beginning of the video??

Thanks so much and God Bless you all.

7:42 PM  
Anonymous Danielle Paulson said...

Thanks so much for the link to Laura's video. I was unable to go to her memorial service because I had work that morning at the Dining Commons here at Taylor working a banquet, so it was hard to be missing it for that reason. I'm so glad for the link, though. I had heard about it and had wanted to see it. This was nice. Hard, but nice.

I remember leaving comments for the VanRyns telling them that I was looking forward to meeting Laura and how I was rejoicing with them and praying with them. My heart is still a little confused sometimes in the midst of all of this as I miss Laurel Erb so so much and think of her every day. I now want to let the Ceraks know how thankful I am for the updates on Whitney and for continuing them after the news came out about the mix up. I wish them all the best and that I cannot wait to meet them and their wonderful daughter Whitney and go to school with her at Taylor next year. You all are in my prayers.

To the Erb and York families, if you happen to read this, please know that you are still in my prayers and that I think of you daily. Much Love, Danielle

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Cerak family -

After debating whether or not to post anything since I do not know Whitney or her family, I have decided to let you all know how much I appreciate your updates on Whitney's progress. It reminds me of how lucky I am to have a healthy family and was raised with parents who are firm believers in Christ and raised me with the same beliefs. After wondering many times of how I would react if I was ever in a situation such as yours, I hope and pray that I would have the faith and the witness that you all have shown. You have touched more people then you will ever know!!!

I would like to thank the person who posted the link to Laura's video tribute. What a family she has! Laura was very fortunate to have such a loving family. It makes me stop and think about my own family and how lucky I am as well. I am praying for you, Van Ryn family.

Whitney I pray for your recovery and God Bless.

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here a an address for Whitney as of this date 6/21/06

Spectrum Health Continuing Care Center

4118 Kalamazoo Ave SE

Grand Rapids, MI 49508

12:21 PM  

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