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Whitney’s Story

Whitney is a student at Western Oregon University and was severly injured in a car accident on January 21, 2008



Hello everyone,

We are so overwhelmed by all the love, prayers, and support that has been offered and given to us throughout this entire ordeal. Thank you doesn’t seem a strong enough phrase We are so grateful.

Deborah and I have been able to speak with many of you and give a brief update on Whitneys condition, but until recently Deborah and I have not had access to a computer and so could not correspond directly until now. Thank you to all those who have shared information and allowed people to be specific in their prayers, it has been a true blessing.

First let me tell you Whitney’s injury list and describe the accident. It was about 3pm on a sunny cold afternoon she was driving a friends minivan on a busy 2 lane highway in rural Oregon near Western Oregon University, where she is a student majoring in American Sign Language Interpretation. Whitney had pulled off onto a side road to turn around and was reentering the highway when she was hit broadside by a full sized pickup. The damage to the van was devastating. Her passenger and both people in the pick up had minor injuries and were treated and released from a local hospital that same day. Whitney had to be cut out of the wreckage and was the recipient of several small miracles. An unknown citizen was keeping her airway open and her neck supported before the fire dept arrived (that unknown person left before anyone could get his name) The responding fire units were especially close due to other calls and specialized equipment was available that normally would not be on the engines. The fire chief told me that he was VERY surprised to learn that Whitney was alive, he didn’t expect her to make it to the hospital.

Whitney has a basal skull fracture and a depressed skull fracture. The surgeons have repaired the depressed fracture. Whitney broke several bones in her face and the orbital bones around her right eye. She has broken ribs on both sides of her chest and a bruised lung. Her spleen was deeply bruised but is healing. Whitney’s pelvis was fractured in 2 places and needed to be repaired with a steel plate and 4 screws. Her sacrum, which is the portion of the spine that connects to the pelvis, was also broken and has been repaired with a stainless steel screw. She is heavily sedated and is on a ventilator.

The good news is she is alive and has begun the healing process

Latest Journal Update

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Hello Friends,

A wonderful flowering cherry tree was planted and dedicated on the campus of Western Oregon University on Whitney's twenty-first birthday. This is a link to the schools website documenting the event. http://www.wou.edu/president/staffsenate/memorials-art/bellinghausen.html

Deborah and I continue to be humbled and honored by the outpouring of love and support from all those who have been influenced by Whitney. She was an incredible young woman and she will continue to touch lives through the memorial scholarship, this beautiful tree and the little piece of her that we all carry in our hearts.

Much Love

Jeff an Deborah