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Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One…

Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope

by Don Van Ryn, Colleen Cerak, Newell Cerak, Whitney Cerak, Susie Van Ryn

Other authors: Mark Tabb

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Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
This book was definitely worth reading but left me with a strange feeling afterwards. A group of teens are in a serious car accident. One girl survives and ends up in a serious condition in hospital. Another of the girls dies. Somehow there is a mix-up and the wrong family is notified that their daughter is in the hospital. The family with the surviving daughter are notified mistakenly that their daughter has died and start the grieving process.

This is when the story becomes almost unbelievable....the family that attend the hospital don't realise that it is not their daughter/sister/relative that has survived. They recognise the girl in the hospital as their own family member even though she is not. It is only when the girl is finally able to start communicating that she writes her real name down and the truth is revealed...

I don't know whether the family just wanted their daughter to be alive so much that they ignored the signs or whether they didn't consider the alternative. Some extended family members did raise concerns and there were signs along the way that this was not their family member but they refused to accept them.

Both families are Christian and I think this helps them to deal with the situation when the truth is revealed. I just found the whole idea a bit creepy and more like something from a movie than real life. I guess I just found it hard to believe that two people could look so alike that their family members could get them confused even after a car accident. I found it even more odd when looking at the pictures of the two girls they don't look at all alike. It's just terrible for the family that thought they were at the bedside of their daughter when actually she had already died.

Incredible story, seemingly unbelievable...
( )
  sparkleandchico | Aug 31, 2016 |
This story was heart-breaking for both the families involved, and people may think I’m a horrible person for saying this - It really could have been told in a newspaper or magazine article. The pages necessary to fill out a book were Christian testimonial. ( )
  memccauley6 | May 3, 2016 |
I love this story! Very inspirational. ( )
  katieloucks | Feb 26, 2016 |
Since this happened locally, it was of great interesting to our book discussion group. It's sad, joyous and an enjoyable read. Lots of emphasis on the power of prayer and of how God worked in the situation, so if that's not your think, you might want to skip it. ( )
  khiemstra631 | May 3, 2015 |
How on earth, in this day and age with forensic scientists and DNA and dental records etc, etc, could a situation like this happen? One person gets mistaken for another. That's all I'll say because I don't want to spoil the book for you if you're planning on reading it but I just shake my head.

The mistake has far-reaching consequences for both families involved and your heart just bleeds for them. Besides the emotional component, I didn't really find the book particularly well-written and they certainly pour on the religious doctrine. I don't mind that usually if it's sincere but when it takes place in a conversation between three people, you can't help but think 'how realistic is this? I don't talk like this!'. ( )
  olegalCA | Dec 9, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Van Ryn, Donprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cerak, Colleenmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Cerak, Newellmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Cerak, Whitneymain authorall editionsconfirmed
Van Ryn, Susiemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Tabb, Marksecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743577035, Audio CD)

The stunning true story of two families trading places from graveside to bedside.

Five lives were lost in a tragic accident involving a Taylor University van, and one young woman, severely injured and comatose, was rushed to the hospital. Families, faculty, students, and communities grieved their losses and joined in prayer and hope as the one young woman, Laura Van Ryn, fought for her life in a hospital bed. The national news spread the story, and people everywhere shared the grief and the hope.

Five weeks passed for the Cerak family. Believing they had buried their daughter, the Ceraks clung to their faith and worshipped God through their tears, learning to look forward with hope to an eternal reunion with their lovely daughter Whitney. They spent weeks in mourning and grief, slowly moving toward healing.

Five weeks passed for the Van Ryns. Keeping a constant bedside vigil over their precious daughter Laura, they sat and prayed and hoped. They rejoiced at each tiny advance toward recovery. They celebrated each sign of Laura's healing.

And then the shock! "Okay, Laura, I would like you to write your name for me," the occupationaltherapist said. W-H-I-T-N-E-Y.

An event that could be seen as pure tragedy becomes a celebration of life's unfathomable gifts and mysteries.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:40 -0400)

Meet Laura Van Ryn and Whitney Cerak: one buried under the wrong name, one in a coma and being cared for by the wrong family. This shocking case of mistaken identity stunned the country and made national news. Would it destroy a family? Shatter their faith? Push two families into bitterness, resentment, and guilt? Two traumatized families describe their ordeal and explore the bond sustaining and uniting them as they deal with their bizarre reversal of life lost and life found. And Whitney Cerak, the sole surviving student, comes to terms with her new identity, forever altered, yet on the brink of new beginnings. This book weaves a complex tale of honesty, vulnerability, loss, hope, faith, and love in the face of one of the strangest twists of circumstances imaginable.--From publisher description.… (more)

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