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 26, 2006

June 26, 2006

"I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me." Psalm 3:5

God continues to give strength and support through His grace. He is sustaining us each and everyday. Without Him we would be lost.

Whitney has had another good day. After returning here yesterday from her weekend away she got a good night's sleep. In the morning she returned to her therapies, improving from what she was able to accomplish on Friday. Using the walker she walked from the little gym down the hallway, I a not sure how far it was but it was the most she has walked since using the walker. Her arm strength increases through the therapy. She lays in bed and asks to have her leg and arm stretched. She so wants to become independant. She played the basketball game, 'Pig' while balancing on her right leg and did an awesome job. In the afternoon there was more work on her leg movement. Her files keep getting put back in place in her speech therapy. It is such a joy to watch.

Three friends came by today at different times and visited. Her conversation keeps getting better and better. She is engaging and very pleasant to talk with. Her smile keeps radiating her warmth and improvement.

One thing we forgot to tell you about Friday. She had two visitors. Don and Lisa VanRyn ate lunch with us. It was a sweet reunion although Whitney does not remember them. She knows that they are the family that took care of her for first 5 weeks, and it was good of them to come and share some of that lost time with her. They are such awesome people and Whitney will always know about what they did for her. We continue to lift them up in prayer for God's strength to support and comfort them. What a tremendous showing of God's love through this wonderful family.

Tomorrow, Whit gets her leg checked on to see if it has healed correctly and if that cast can come off. If it all goes as hoped for, she will be fitted with a walking boot that she can put all her weight on. This is amazing! She is moving ahead at a steady pace. And we are praising God for His goodness.

Thanks be to God for you all.

In Christ alone, Newell


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord for the VanRyn families love on your family. How hard it must be on the Vanryns to realize that
Whit doesn't remember them. Through the two families i'm realizing what it means to surrender your all and sacrafice your all so that HIS kingdom will be known.....

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The VanRyn's are amazing. I am in awe over their strength and committment to Whitney. I am sure it is not easy for them. Your family is also amazing and so full of strength. The support you give your daughter and the words of the Lord you share with us, is so powerful and appreciated. I will continue to pray for Whitney (and her procedure tomorrow), the VanRyn's and your entire family. God Bless!

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The VanRyn's are incredibly AMAZING and their love is such a testimony. They have ministered to me more than I can tell them... choosing to forgive and follow Christ and trust that He has everything in control has challenged me in my own walk with the Lord. It's easy to say our steps are ordered of the Lord, but to live it out in action is something completely different. The VanRyn's are wonderful people and I know they are storing up for themselves great treasures in Heaven where moth and rust do not destroy.

8:31 PM  
Blogger Tasha said...


I started an internship today in Marion and people were asking how you were doing! You are loved by even strangers! Let that warm your heart today! Stay strong, girl! Upland Community Church prays for you continually!

Love from a Taylor student,

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Rick Green, Ballwin, MO said...

I've been reading this blog and the VanRyn's blog for some time now and have posted on each of your families earlier blogs. I am posting here to let you know that even though there aren't as many responses now, I'm sure everyone is following along and praying everyday for Whitney, yourselves, the VanRyns and the other families involved in this terrible accident. I feel such love for your families because of the way you've handled this as well as your lives before this. You all are such an inspiration. God bless.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an encouragement it has been to read over your blog! What an incredible, awesome God we have! Only he can give the impossible hope and joy in circumstances like yours and the VanRyns. What a privelege it is to be in God's family...you have encouraged me!

8:48 PM  
Blogger Jody said...

I just wanted you to know that we are still here "watching" Whitney's progress and praying for all of you. I know the journey is long and tedious, but your faith is strong and your God stronger yet. I hope that you each get the rest you need to stand up under all the stress and issues involved with a long-term care center. We are loving you from a distance and are closeby if you need anything. Please don't hesitate to call. Much love and care~ chip2jody@hotmail.com

8:49 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...

I love hearing about not only Whitney's recovery but your increase in faith. Need more coffee yet? Just holler for delivery!

9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Whitney and Cerak family,
How we praise and thank God for the
wonderful progress that is taking place in Whitney's recovery.
We have been praying along with thousands of others that God would do more than we could ever ask or think. It is exciting to hear that our prayers are being answered in such marvelous ways.
Whitney's and Laura's story has touched the heart of our culture in a most profound and miraculous way. We believe it has become a defining moment in many of our lives just like when the 5 missionaries were slain by the Aucas in South America in the 50's.
God will use these circumstances with Whitney and Laura to speak volumes to a watching world.
The testimomies of both your families have been and continue to be AWESOME! We rejoice with you in
all that God is doing! Keep looking up!
Jim & Edna Lake

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your continued updates on Whitney...please don't stop. It is such a testimony for all of us. The Lord is truly doing great things.
It was so wonderful of you to share about the VanRyn's coming to see yall. We (those of us who are strangers) pray for the VanRyn's as much as we pray for the Cerak's and we would love to hear about them. As so many have said...both of the families are just amazing. Thank you again for allowing us to be a part of this...we continue to be blessed and stirred in our own relationships with Jesus.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you...in ways you will never know...I have found Jesus because of Whitney and Laura....Thank you from the bottom of my heart...I am so sorry your pain has healed me and so many others.

11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such amazing progress. Thank you so much for continuing to share with us. How priveleged you are to be such a big part of God's plan. I still ask blessings for all the families involved.

1:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, even though the comments are not as high in volume, we are all still watching and checking in on this blog. Count me in as someone who loves hearing about both families.

How wonderful of Don and Lisa to come and visit. I am sure it is a bittersweet thing for them.

We wish Whitney all the best, and I think I speak for all of us when I say that I continue to lift of the other families to the Lord. Outwardly, it is easy to comment about the Ceraks and the Van Ryns because they have connected with all of us through the blog, but that doesn't mean that there are not thoughts and prayers for the other families ... and I hope that they know that.

5:22 AM  
Anonymous Norie Erickson said...

Newell, Colleen, Carly, Whitney,

Just wanted you to know that the Columbus contingent follows your Blog everyday and that you are all in our thoughts and prayers. We give thanks to God for the day-by day increases in health and strength.
May the spirit of Jesus Christ be with you each moment and be very real to you. Dad (Uncle Raplph) would be rejoicing with you!

5:31 AM  
Anonymous Jeanette Hoeksema said...

Love ya, Whitney, Carly, Newell, and Colleen! We continue to pray for you daily! Thanks for these updates so we know how to pray specifically. Whitney, we're praying for your quick return home!

It such a blessing to know you!

Scott, Jeanette, Micah, and Leah

5:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm lost here :-D , who is Newell? I always thought it was Whit's Dad, Whit's PROUD Dad, or something to that nature. Now we are down to just Newell!!!!

What happened here????? Just giving you a bit of razing there. But then you know how we all are.

I can not express how greatful I am to our God for Whit's ongoing recovery to independancy and the strength that He has sustained in both the VanRyn's and your family. This is AWESOME.

I can not be but a bit selfish, Whit, when I read that you were going to have a weekend away. I was praying that you could just surprize us all on Sunday. However God had better plans for you to be where you can witness better and to share your love for Christ at camp. I know that is where you and Matt were going to be councelers(?). Well what a great witness your family is to those kids and maybe even there families.

I pray that if not now, then maybe later that the VanRyn's will come to be a witness with your family also when you tell your testimonies to others. Both families have such an awesome strenght of Faith and I feel that the Lord did this for a reason. However in our infinite minds we can not fathum God's ways or reasons.

I know that this has made my Faith in the Lord stronger also.

Blessings from Above,
Beth K. at E-Free

5:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are loved too Sandra!! People tend to leave you out of the list of family names . . . nonetheless, you are LOVED!!!!!!!!!!

6:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God is good!

6:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ditto. please continue to post, many readers, few commenters--to be expected....very encouraged daily by your entries.


6:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for updating this blog, I love reading it!

6:56 AM  
Anonymous Jimmy said said...

Newell and Colleen,

Your comments are such a source of encouragement to me. Your witness at the funeral was a powerful example and now to rejoice with you daily as Whitney literally is coming back to life. Thanks for sharing your life with all of us. You have our prayers.

Jim and Barb Newell

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We here Sandra's name mentioned here. Can someone tell us who Sandra is?

8:28 AM  
Anonymous emily said...

Whitney and family,
You guys are truly awesome! Hope the cast can come off. Keep it up, Whitney!

Emily, Kent OH

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Susan LaGassa, San Jose said...

Hallelujah! Whitney may be rid of the cast soon! I pray Lord for perfect healing of Whitney's leg! Jesus we ask that you align her bones and strengthen her muscles, she has so much to do!
Thank you Ceraks for keeping us up to date, I have coffee with the Whitney every morning!
Lord we praise you for every wonderful moment with Whitney. Please God show Whitney your amazing favor and bless her abundantly!

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Cerak Family,

I am ecstatic that things are going so well for you and Whitney. We have such an awesome, powerful God. I pray everything continues to progress at this pace. I enjoy the loving words that you support us with and encourage Whitney with each and every day!

I give my best to you all! I wish I could be there to say hi to all of you again!

God Bless!
Sara Brunk

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

I hope that everything works out with Whitney's leg. I am recovering from a broken leg myself, and I thought that you might get some comfort from the site mybrokenleg.com. It is a place where people share their stories and it provides some helpful hints. It really has helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel. May God be with you all during these trying times.

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cerak's, As a mother myself, I can't even imagine the joy that must fill your heart to have your presumed dead daughter returned to you! What a new appreciation for life Whitney will have. I'm so happy to read of her progress and at the same time pray for the Van Ryn's and others who have lost their children in this tragic accident. May God continue to give you strength and bless your path with His grace. And may the Van Ryn's know Laura's death is just as much a part of the testimony of God here. I watched "End of the Spear" and saw how some lives must be sacrificed in order for the gospel message to be heard but, that sacrifice is not a little thing in the eyes of God. His ways are so beyond ours and one day we'll see the big picture!!!

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cerak's, As a mother myself, I can't even imagine the joy that must fill your heart to have your presumed dead daughter returned to you! What a new appreciation for life Whitney will have. I'm so happy to read of her progress and at the same time pray for the Van Ryn's and others who have lost their children in this tragic accident. May God continue to give you strength and bless your path with His grace.

And may the Van Ryn's know Laura's death is just as much a part of the testimony of God here. I watched "End of the Spear" and saw how some lives must be sacrificed in order for the gospel message to be heard but, that sacrifice is not a little thing in the eyes of God. His ways are so beyond ours and one day we'll see the big picture!!!

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And my God shall supply ALL your needs...!"

Know that prayers and thoughts are coming from places far and wide that you may never know of. Know that God is using your family and the VanRyn's in ways that only He can to bring glory and honor to Himself.

"I will never leave you nor forsake you, says the Lord"

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your daily updates encourage our hearts and spur us to pray. Please know that your extended family joins you in rejoicing and in petition to our faithful Father. We love you all. John and Doris Spier

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Cerak Family,
Clay & I continue to be in awe of your strength and inspired by the depth of your faith. It is a joy to read the updates on Whitney's progress and to hear what you are able to share again together as a family.
Fondly, Anne Perfall

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Lisa Herschberger said...

Hi Ceraks,

We are still thinking of and praying for you all daily. We read your updates every day and are so glad to hear of Whitney's progress.
We came to visit hoping to encourage you, but it was all of you who encouraged us. We're very blessed to call you our friends. You are amazing. We love you all!

Lisa, Dave, Katie, and Jeffrey

p.s. Colleen - Katie wanted me to tell you she finished the Junie B. Jones book, and both kids loved playing with the bubbles and the game you gave them! :-)

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Newell and Mrs. Cerak....well and carly too :) I wanted to let you know that I did decide to take the position and become an RA. What I will gain from being one outweighs what I will lose by far. I love you all and I just wanted to let you know!



PS Carly the book is great so far!

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love reading these updates daily. What a miracle!

I have been babysitting for my 5 yr. old granddaughter this summer and she looks forward to hearing Whitney's progress and all about how she is doing. She will ask me to tell her "The Story" about what happened and will smile and gets so happy when I get to the parts where Whitney is laughing with friends and how she is working everyday and getting stronger.

We assumed the weekend out was to go home???? If that is right, we wondered how Whitney's pets were. You mentioned her wanting to see her dog and my granddaughter thinks that dog should know Whitney is O.K.

Hope you will continue posting these updates on her recovery. It has been wonderful hearing how God has worked this wonderful miracle in your life.

Deb & Brittany

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Canadian Cerak blog reader said...

So thankful with all of you - there are lots of mysteries in life even for those who walk with Christ.
Thank you Cerak's and VanRyn's for providing a view of what it means to be people of authentic faith amidst many mysteries.

You were thrown a curve ball like most of us will never see, and you've simply asked God for enough grace, joy and strength for the moments of each day.
You have chosen to focus on how God can receive glory in all this instead of creating outrage which you very well could of done.

We would love to see a family picture sometime that included Sandra. I skimmed the People magazine pictures and didn't see Sandra - maybe I missed her.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Veronica said...

Your life as well as your family's life has become not only a testimony to me, but to many other people. Thank you so much for the updates, and I will continue to pray for you. It is so encouraging to read about your progress.
In Christ,
Veronica Dobson

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again I must thank you for the wonderful news of Whit and her recovery. The world awaits news of her well being and my family thrives on each message.
The Lord is using this horrid sadness to His benefit . People are turning to the Lord through this accident. The Lord is so good.
Keep posting and we will keep reading.
I also do not know who Sandra is..could someone fill me in. thanks.

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that Sandra is about Whitney's age and came to live in the Cerak's home when her own family moved away during high school, or something like that. I think that she is fondly referred to as "The Basement Sister" or something to that effect...I think someone else asked and that was the answer given a few blogs ago...(ooh! a new colloquialism .."many blogs ago in a glalaxy far, far away a great adventure took place ...) Can anyone clarify this? Amen to the pictures.

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Taylor Student in Washington D.C. said...

Thank you so much for being faithful in updating us about Whitney's progress. I am so encouraged by her progress, and even though I am far from the Taylor Community right now, I feel connected when I read about how God is healing her.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to go Whitney!! you better paint your toe-nails for the exciting event. I visited you just a few days after the accident and we all thought your hot pink toes were so adorable.

Thank you again for your reminder to pray for the VanRyns. I'm so grateful that you mention their visits with you. They are definitely incredible. Praise God for our amazing family in Christ.

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone possibly have the last blog that the Vanryns posted on lauravanryn.blogspot.com? Hopefully someone does! thank you!

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the info on Sandra...she is a blessed young woman to be a part of Whit's family....and yes I would also love to see pics of all of the family....

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sandra is as they refer to "the girl that lives in the basement" but very much a part of the family. She's a great girl and full of love and sweetness. She's very much a Cerak but, get's a lot tanner in the summer!! Love to all and miss you here in Gaylord.

6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW!!! Is pretty much all I can say. I am local to this story, in Grand Rapids, MI and am amazed at the press this is getting. It is a story that touches me as a parent, so much so that I still cry (happy and sad tears for both families at the same time) everytime I read anything on this. My heart goes out to both families. I can even begin to imagine how this has effected them because I know how it has effected me so deeply and I dont know either family. You both are such wonderful parents and for 5 weeks, Whitney was blessed with the love of another family-A bond that will likely remain, even if her memory of it is little. Them being with her made an impact that they will never know.
I will send my prayers to both families so that they all may heal with time and love.

6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Cerak family for continually updating us each day with Whitney's wonderful progress! I was out of town and could NOT wait to get back and get caught up on how our prayers are continually answered for the healing of Whitney. :) Y'all, and the VanRyn's, are such a blessing to each and every one of us that read this blog every day. You help us take a step back and realize the important things in life! :)
Whitney, your determination to get better and stronger every day is amazing! You are such a blessing and will continue to be in my prayers daily. :)

Frisco, Texas

7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cerak Family,
I have been so mesmerized by the gift that God has given you. And I grieve for the VanRyn family as well. 17 years ago my own sister was killed in a car accident, and at the time I was only 10 years old, and I remember praying,and wishing that it was all a mistake that she really was a live..and to read the story's about Whitney made me realize that even if my own sister isn't here on earth, she is here with me everyday.
May the blessings of each day be the blessing you need the most..Your family is always in my prayers and thoughts
Marsha Robinson
Elkhart, IN

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love keeping up with all of the adventures your family are going thru. Know that you story will go on and on and that it gives many people joy hearing of the whole families recovery. Your faith is an inspiration.
Keeping up on your family from Florida.

7:35 PM  
Blogger Kelli Bug said...

Whitney....Congrats on offically finishing your first year of college!!!

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon your family's story in a magazine and it led me to your blog. It was uplifting to read. I wish your family all the best and I must say how I admire your faith throughout this ordeal. Please know that in keeping this blog and showing the strength God has given ya'll you are doing your part to reach out to others in need. I say to myself, "if this family, with all these trials, can hold on to their faith, then I can certainly thank God for my family's many blessings as well".

8:50 PM  
Blogger Ashley Kenney said...

Hi Whitney and Family, I have just finished watching your story on Dateline. It is so unbelieveable i mean i can't get over how something like this could've happened. I am so sorry you and your family and friends had to go through something like this. It is just terrible. I am so glad that you are okay though. you are a very beautiful young lady and I know you are strong enough to get through this. If you believe in the Lord, you can get through anything. I will continue to pray for you and your family that everything goes well. God Bless you. And if you ever just need a friend just email me. I have a myspace page..www.myspace.com/ashdanielle07. ~Ashley

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this story has to be the most powerful I have ever heard. So happy for the Cerak family and so sad for the VanRyn family.

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was captivated watching "A Twist of Fate" -the interview with Matt Lauer last night. I was truly ministered to by both families and moved deeply by your faith.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Jim Kovala said...

Hi Whitney,

I just viewed your story on MSNBC. All I can say is wow! I can only image what your family went through. We live in Upper Michigan and if you guys ever get up this way, you are welcome here. You are one classy woman!

Jim Kovala

4:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an amazing story. I could not believe the depth of the faith of both families. I was particularly touched by the sincerity, faith, character, and belief of the Van Ryn sister. What it proves is that our faith in the savior is redemptive.

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Whitney, Praise be to God. Tonight I watch Dateline. I tell you this is truly a miracle and mystery as to how what the will of God prevail. I can only imagine the feelings and questions in both families heart and minds.
I know people always say God don't make no mistakes, but, I feel like they say that at the time of sorrow because they don't know what to say. You truly have a testimony so spread Gods word to all that you can reach. Let them know how amazing the Lord is.To the Vanryns family had not you had just much love for the Lord as Whitney's family, God Bless you. What an amazing LOVE both famiies have.

7:59 PM  

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