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.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

June 21, 2006 " Throught Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer..."

"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that confess His name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased" Hebrews 13:15-16

What tremendous verses! Let us continually confess His name, the name of God almighty, the creator of heaven and earth. This is how we praise our Lord and Savior and King. We want to be careful to give God the praise for all He has done and continues to do in and through us as well as our Christian brothers and sisters the world over. We honor God with doing good and sharing with others. Sharing not only of what we have been blessed with but also sharing the great news of salvation. We want to honor Him today with our lives. Pray for God's strength as we join our hearts together, with Christians everywhere, to make a difference for Him.

God is indeed good! As many of you have said, even in the midst of this unbelievable situation God continues to use it for His good. The comments of how God is changing lives and hearts is so encouraging and we thank you for what you are all sharing. When we share these things with Whitney, she simply says, "wow". It is blessing her and giving her strength. Thanks from the Ceraks.

She had a quiet good day today. It seems evident to me that she has been a little more on the tired side the past couple days. We are aware that this could be due in part to the infection that has set in her leg. She is taking antibiotics orally and we are meeting with the doctor of infectious diseases tomorrow. We are praying that this is the only medication she will need in regards to this situation.

Her therapies went well. She played solitare on the computer and did well. Her strength gains a little more each day. Her range of motion in her elbow has improved a lot, and she keeps working on it as she lays in her bed.

Today, she had a couple of friends over to visit which brightened her day. Whitney sat at dinner eating pizza and laughing with her friends and family. Even though she had started the day off slowly and tired, she ended it with good fellowship and now rest.

Thanks again for your prayers offered up for the other families involved. The Erbs, the Larsons, the Smiths, the VanRyns and the Felvers.

We are amazed at our God and His people.

In Christ alone, Whit's dad


Anonymous TrulyTexan said...

You have turned my life around with your testimonies and writings. Only in heaven will you know the impact of the things you share each day in this blog. thank you for god's word. thank you for being a blessing to me. May the Lord bless you and keep you, May the Lord cause His face to shine upon you and give you peace.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just want to thank you for all your updates. God truly has blessed Whit and your family with her encouraging improvements. I just found out tonight that Vickie Rhodes, the driver of the Taylor van, will be having surgery this Friday on her neck, which was injured in the accident. The doctor told her this is the 2nd worse case he has ever seen and is calling it an "emergency surgery." She is not allowed to work or do too much movement until they can get this fixed. Please, as you all pray for Whit's recovery and the families of the others involved, please do not forget the few others that survived the accident. They are still apart of the Taylor family.

With God's love,
Upland "townie"

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Coopers-USA

Thank you SO much for responding to my request for the name of the song sung on Laura's video tribute. Matt was apparantly a very talented writer before he went to join his Lord. The poem / song is beautiful and I have had it stuck in my head since watching the video. Lisa and Sarah did a wonderful job singing it as well. Please let the Van Ryn's know that many are still keeping them in their prayers and thinking of them daily. Laura has touched many lives in her life, and death.

To the Ceraks:

May God continue to bless you in Whitney's progress in her recovery and in her faith. Your family has been an inspiration to many. Keep your faith high and your trust in our almighty God solid. He has a plan for us all.

In Christ's Love,
Gina from Texas

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the Ceraks,

Thank you for your testimony of faith. You are an inspiration and encourage to all of us of Christ's power and peace in the midst of trial. You will surely come through as pure gold.

We continue to pray for Whitney's recovery, especially now with the leg infection. We pray for complete healing.

In Christ's Love,

Connie Randall, mother of a Taylor 06 graduate.

9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll continue to pray that God will take care of that infection, Whit. I'm inspired by your strength and will to get better. Keep it up girlie!

9:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ceraks,

Thank you for inviting us into your personal lives to help pray for your daughter's recovery. I have kept your family in my prayers and just wanted you to know that I am touched by your opened hearts to allow us to help in some way. I lost two very closed loved ones very quickly together and my reaction was to shut people out, rather than let them in -as you all have done. I'm thankful that all of us who have our hope in Christ will all one day celebrate together as one body. Your family is getting a glimpse of this here now as you see how your daughter's story has truly touched this "earthly world". Thank you for the challenge of accepting prayers and comfort.

"Our Dear Lord,

I praise you Father, for Your continual healing in Whitney's life. You know her every need. Please heal her leg of this infection. Strengthen her, Lord. We pray this infection will leave her soon and it would not damage any part of her leg. Give her strength as she waits this whole process of healing out. Guard her heart and mind from depression or despair. Quickly bring her body and mind back to full healing strength, Dear Lord. She desires home and I lift her up with everyone else who is praying that You grant her this request soon. We praise You for Your Love, Hope, Kindness, Care, and Guidance in our lives. I'm truly humbled by Your Grace. Thank you for allowing Whitney to stay on this earth longer with her loved ones.

Please hold up and carry the families who lost their loved one from this tragedy. My heart aches for their loss and grief they must carry. Guard them from doubt and depression. Help them to wake up each day and live. May love, peace, and laughter lighten their hearts. And Dear Lord, please bring friends and family to them in sincere ways to help carry their burdens when they need another.

I praise You that You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. May You receive all Honor, Glory, and Praise.

In Christ's Name,

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your faith astonishes me. I have been raised Catholic, but have not spoken to or prayed for the past year because I am angry with God. After everything that has happened with your family and Whitney, I am in awe of your faith. Keep up the hard work Whitney, each day is a testament to your hard work!!!

9:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please know that my Bible study is praying for Whitney's recovery. I appreciate your regular posts. It helps me to know how to pray. There is such comfort in knowing that we can intercede for others and that Jesus sits on the right hand of the Father and does the same.

Erin Blasdel
Taylor '03

12:48 AM  
Blogger Darcy Keith said...

Thank you, Cerak family, for your continuing updates to the BLOG, and scripture to keep us focused on the final goal - eternal life with our precious Lord!

Though the infection might be a small bump in the road, it, too, shall pass. When the cast was cut from my leg when I experienced "foot drop" as a result of the car/semi crash, the saw also cut my foot, to which infection also decided to make itself at home. But, medicine and God's healing power took care of it. I know it will be the same for Whitney.

We will continue to keep Whitney in our daily praters. Thank you for sharing the progress.

Connected by the One,
Darcy Keith,

3:48 AM  
Blogger Darcy Keith said...

Thank you, Cerak family, for your continuing updates to the BLOG, and scripture to keep us focused on the final goal - eternal life with our precious Lord!

Though the infection might be a small bump in the road, it, too, shall pass. When the cast was cut from my leg when I experienced "foot drop" as a result of the car/semi crash, the saw also cut my foot, to which infection also decided to make itself at home. But, medicine and God's healing power took care of it. I know it will be the same for Whitney.

We will continue to keep Whitney in our daily praters. Thank you for sharing the progress.

Connected by the One,
Darcy Keith,

3:49 AM  
Blogger Kiley said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:58 AM  
Blogger Kiley said...

I have never seen anything like this before. I am a student at Taylor Fort Wayne and this story just touches my heart. Whitney has been such a STRONG and AMAZING testimony to me even though i have never met her. I think it is amazing what God can do! I am praying for Whitney and you all everyday! i hope for a QUICK recovery and an amazing life ahead for Whit! In my prayers.......and thanks for the updates.......God Bless!

4:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christ NEVER forgets His own!!
-Praise His Name!!!

Thank you for the daily updates. . .they are very encouraging! Our church is praying for you! (AND will continue!)

God Bless!

5:29 AM  
Anonymous Taylor "06 Grad said...


Reading this blog, to see how Whitney is doing, has become a part of my daily routine. When I come into my office, I turn on my computer check my e-mail and read about Whitney and all of the family's progress. To read inspiring verses and be uplifted by your recovery and faith is a magnificent thing. I am able to share this information with co-workers. They are truly touched and amazed with your family and God's work. Whitney at 19 years old you have already left a legacy for so many others to aspire to. Keep up the fight. I hope to see you at Taylor when I come for Homecoming in the fall. My prayers are with you all.

5:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fellow fans of Whitney Cerak: It is now time to put our money where our mouth is... Certainly the medical bills for this are enormous. Why don't we establish a fund to help defer the outrageous costs of this care Whitney is receiving. If, by chance, there was a surplus, it could be stiuplated that the funds be directed towards something philanthropic - perhpas given to Taylor University in memory of those who were lost - or directed through Mr. Cerak's church for a Christian mission.

Someone in the legal field, please inform me of what steps should be taken, and I will do what I can.

6:29 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Thank you for sharing your faith and your story with me. While I do not know you personally, I know you through the Lord. I have faced my own personal challenges in recent weeks, and your faith and story has taught me so much. My problems now seem trivial and you have shown me the importance of prayer and faith. I now know to trust in the Lord and allow His plan to be. You have no idea the peace I get from reading your daily blogs and learning from your daily quotes. Thank you for sharing your faith and love of God with all! May peace and health be yours. Hang in there, Whitney! God is by your side!

6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Colleen, I was at Taylor when you were and just wanted you to know that you have been in my prayers. I trust that someday we will see the "big picture" and understand why the accident and following events have happened as they have. I am so happy for you that you have Whitney back again! Lisa Wortman Andis x '81

6:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To lazeeblu@yahoo.com,

Here in Whitney's hometown of Gaylord, when tragedy strikes, we respond. We're a very close knit community. Right after word broke out of Whitney's survival, our little town rallied together and organzied a benefit dinner for the family. The Cerak's then told everybody that it was not needed. That financially they were okay. They told the ones who organzied it that they would feel uncomfortable accepting the money. So maybe instead, you could donate it to the Invisible Children Foundation (that's where the money from her funeral went to). Or even to the Springhill Summer Camp (where Whit was supposed to join Holly, Sandra, and Matt at this summer).

7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure with the mix-up the hospital is picking up the bill in hopes of avoiding a huge lawsuit.

Praying Whit gets needed rest so her body can fight the infection quickly.

7:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would imagine the trucking company that caused the accident will have to pick up the expenses of all the victims.

8:35 AM  
Anonymous jeanette hoeksema said...

Hey, Ceraks! We are praying specifically for this infection to go away and for another good day for Whitney. Whitney, we're proud of you, girl!

the Hoeksemas

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Cerak family, for your daily reminders that God is good, that he has a plan for each of us, and that we are not alone.

Thank you also for your thoughts and updates on the other families that this accident has impacted. Our hearts continue to ache for all of you who are recovering from this tragic accident.

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the Ceraks:

Thank you for sharing your faith and gratitude. I'm inspired daily reading of Whitney's continued healing, despite the surgical site infection and I'm enjoying learning more bible passages. I'm also learning more about TBI. My prayers are with you, each of the other Taylor U. friends and families touched by this accident,the families and friends of all the people with TBI, all TBI survivors, as well as all the caregivers and professionals involved with helping trauma survivors. An aside appreciation for the information about Vickie Rhodes. How are the other survivors healing?

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your thoughts and prayers are amazing on this site. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life we all forget that haveing a little faith, no matter what kind it is, can bring us all through the toughest of times. Wishing you the best in your recovory.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had so much fun! It was amazing to be able to spend that time with Whit and the rest of you. I love you all so much! Thanks for the laughs!:)

In Him-


9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the Erbs, the Larsons, the Smiths, the VanRyns and the Felvers--

We keep you in our prayers daily, and pray for God's angels to lovingly hold your precious loved ones. We also pray that you will be surrounded by love and grace and kindness as you walk these next days.

God Bless you.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen to 12:11 p.m.!!

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I pray daily for Whitney, I am so inspired by her. I have a husband who was involved in a car crash and received TBI, but even after going to Mary Free Bed, after the coma, he remains in a nursing home today, however he cannot walk, speaks like a child, and has to be fed. I praise the Lord for showing me people can survive this and Whitney is not only a survivor, she is a shining example of the Lord's work and we must never forget that. God Bless You Whitney, your family, and all those who were involved in this tragic accident.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our thoughts and prayers contintue to be with you. It is awesome to be able to track Whitney's progress.

The Johnston's
Toree, Chelsie, Dave & Veronica

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank God Whitney is making such progress.Last weeek I left Spectrum CCC.The day before , I gave her a wave,she waved back a called my by name.She is a true blessing and has resotred my faith. I also remember Hunter,he used to come see me as he passed my room. Our prayer's are with you.God Bless.
Dave HIlton

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am one of the many writing whom you have never met. Thank you for your faithful testimony to a watching world. You are demonstrating that in that range of (humanly speaking) worst-life experiences (from death to traumatic injury), that God is sufficient to meet your needs. II Corinthians 12:9 is true: His strength is made perfect in our weakness. How wonderful to see you living daily in His strength and doing so joyfully!!

I am reading a missionary autobiography called "In the Arena" by Isobel Kuhn, and I think of you all throughout it. You are truly in the "arena." As the back cover says, "Isobel was convinced that the trials and difficulties of her life as a missionary were 'arena experiences,' which God used not to punish her but to reveal Himself... To her reader she says, 'I pray that you may not focus attention on how dark the trial, but rather on the power of God that was manifested there, and the emergence into light.'" She refers to I Corinithians 4:9 how the apostles were a "spectacle" to the world. Hudson Taylor said, "Difficulties afford a platform upon which He can show Himself. Without them we could never know how tender, faithful, and almighty our God is."

I pray you experience His power in fullest measure, beyond anything you ask or expect, to bring glory to Him! I pray your faith may increase even more and that you can trust Him through these days. He is your Rock, your Shield, your mighty Fortress and Defender, your exceedingly great reward! I pray you will not feel overwhelmed with what He has called you to do, but that you will rest in His strength and all that He supplies to meet your needs. And I pray for Whitney to be fully healed, infection and all.

She has an amazing story to tell throughout her life, doesn't she!? You all do! And it inspires each of us to examine our own stories that God is writing and go out and boldly share Him to those who need Him. For Jesus came to seek and to save what was lost, and He can give each of our lives purpose and meaning. I pray people continue turning to Him for that through this situation.


2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been reading about this story since the day it happened. I pray for you family and especially for Whitney as she continues to make strides towards going home. I love reading about her progress, I wish that everyone could show the strength and faith Whitney shows every day. I don't know your family, but I want you to know that I am a college student and I could never see myself being as strong and courageous as you have been Whitney. You truly are a strong girl. Thank you for the updates, I will continue to pray for your progress and I also pray that this infection will be taken care of in a timely manner. Thanks for the updates and best of luck Whitney. May the lord bless you and keep you, may the lord cause his face to shine upon you and give you peace, in the name of the father, son and holy spirit Amen.

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

for anonymous ex catholic,angry with God--I want to let you know that I too was where you are ,how you are feeling now...I too was catholic and after 2 divorces felt worthless with bad self esteem and guilt issues.then I met Newell and Colleen . with their love and understanding and true friendship (we have formed from 1999 t0 present),I again feel close to GOd.THEY have taught me to let GO of the anger ,let God in again in my life and in my heart.God has really turned what others meant to do me harm---into something good for me in the end. I am still learning every day GodS purpose and will for my life.I am still a work in progress.I am excited about my life. I encourage you like the ceraks encouraged me. THEY ARE SPECIAL .another anonymous

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Karen Cogdell said...

Dear Cerak Family - Whit, I knew your parents briefly before they were married. I know how extremely lucky you are to have such God loving parents. My heart broke for them in the beginning and rejoices with them now. I pray for your continued healing inside and out. I know God has held you gently in his hands since that trajic day and sweetie there is no where better to be. He is your rock. May God bless you and your family minute by minute. Thank you Newell and Colleen for sharing - I can invision the love and smiles on your faces just by reading your words.
Love to you all - Karen (Mathews) Cogdell

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Cerak Family,

I praise God for Whitney's contuied revcovery. I came across Whit's blog today. What an amazing testimony she has! I hope the infection goes away soon. I also pray that she would find strength everyday and continue to have faith in Jesus....the ultimate healer.
God Bless,
Savannah CO

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Kannowski said...

To the Cerak's!

I THINK you remember us ..The Kannowski's who lived in Gaylord with our boys Aaron & Bryan! In fact maybe two years ago or so i got to see Colleen at a Volley Ball game in Alpena and did catch up with her a little. I was watching my neice and she was watching Whitney.. Anyways.. I really look forward to reading Whitney's progress each day. It just the most amazing story I have ever read.. My nephew as we speak is in Grand Rapids also at Mary Free Bed recovering from a bicycle/car accident and contines also to do well each day.. I will continue to keep all of you in our thoughts and prayers and hopefully Whitney will continue to do well each day!

Nancy, Al, Aaron & Bryan Kannowski

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am looking the the artist/title of the last song on the VanRyn tribute on the June 2th posting.

8:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet I Will Praise - Shannon

I will praise you, Lord my God
Even in my brokeness
I will praise you Lord
I will praise you, Lord my God
Even in my desperation
I will praise you Lord

And I can´t understand
All that you allow
I just can´t see the reason
but my life is in your hands
and through I cannot see you
I choose to trust you

Even when my hearts is torn
I will trust you Lord
Even when I feel deserted
I will trust you Lord

Even in the darkest valley
I will trust you Lord
and when it seems all hope is gone
yet I will praise you Lord

I will trust you Lord my God
Even in my loneliness
I will trust you Lord

And I will not forget
that you hung on a cross
Lord you bled and died for me
and if I have to suffer
I know that you´ve been there
and I know that you´re here now

8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love what you said about sharing not only what we have been blessed with but sharing the great news of salvation. it comes very easily to me to share money and worldly things i have been blessed with, but sharing the great news of salvation and Jesus are a lot harder for me to share. what an AMAZING job you are doing of sharing that news and what an amazing job you are doing at helping me see how i could also share that news with others.


9:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You will never know how your lives have affected the world. I read your blog and share in the recovery of Whitney. Although we have never met, I feel as though we are close. I live about 20 miles from Taylor and every time I go to Ivanhoe's I think of you. My heart is touched by your wonderful blog and I thank you for sharing your family with all of us. God Bless

6:10 AM  
Anonymous Chuck Boner said...

If Whitney dies can I have her soiled panties please.

It would help me to remember her spiritually, the smell of all that fish etc. after all, The Lord loves fished and bread.

You can stick the bread up your ass, just give me the fishy smell panties.

God Bless.

8:19 AM  

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