Wednesday, January 10, 2007

How Strong is Your Faith?

Here is an article that just tugs at your heart strings. I read it while I was in Utah.

Community Rallies Together to Help Family

Thursday December 28th, 2006

- Daily Herald

His family watched as Gary Ceran laid Tiny Tim to rest in Scrooge's dream for the last time Saturday night.

It's a poignant scene for a father who has in reality buried five young children, said Hale Center Theater Executive Producer Sally Dietlein.

In the play, two of Bob Cratchit's children were Ceran's own, Caleb, 12, and Clarissa, 19, who are learning to love the stage as much as their father.

In the audience was the rest of the family, mother Cheryl, Ian, 15, and Julianna, 7.

Their last night together was spent celebrating the final performance of the Ceran family.

"They had their coats on and we hugged them and said goodbye," Dietlein said.

After some last-minute holiday shopping at Wal-Mart around 2:30 a.m., they were at 5400 South and 700 West in Murray enjoying thoughts of Christmas Eve when their Mercury Sable was demolished by a man police say was drunk.

Cheryl and Ian were killed instantly. Julianna was transported to Primary Children's Medical Center with Caleb, where she died.

Caleb has a broken pelvis and ribs. He was released Christmas Day.

The car wrapped around Clarissa Ceran's legs -- friends hope it doesn't shatter her dreams of dancing at Brigham Young University, where she attends school.

The driver was Carlos Prieto, 24, of West Valley City. Murray Police Detective Kenny Bass said that Prieto admitted to drinking five beers before the crash. He is charged with three counts of vehicular homicide.

This is Prieto's third DUI offense, according to charging documents. He is being held without bail until his first appearance in court, at which point bail will be $500,000.

Despite losing half his family, Gary Ceran is looking beyond anger.

"He said 'You know we have 100,000 people praying for us probably, but who's praying for the man who did this?' " Dietlein said.

Neighbors talk about the love the family had for each other. Plenty of friends heard the family laugh, but no one ever heard them yell.

"That family had been through fire together, into the depths," Dietlein said. "They were so closely knit, when they were in the room they were standing together all of them in the clump."

And while their family was just split in half, neighbor and former LDS bishop Greg Kofford said that the family sees themselves as much larger. As parents, Gary and Cheryl lost three other children ranging from 3 weeks old to 14 months due to a genetic defect, where the children were born with tumors on the brain stem. Twins born prematurely also died within a day of their birth.

Kofford said that the faith-centered family has the perspective that they are always a family, no matter the circumstances of death. He said that he watched when Gary Ceran, who was released from the hospital first, told his remaining children that their family was now three.

"They just said 'Well, we're still family, and we'll carry on,' " he said.

The family of local performers -- they've been in Savior of the World together at the LDS Conference Center and numerous performances at Hale and in Utah County -- are being honored by two special performances Friday night at the Hale Centre Theatre. "See How They Run" was set to start Saturday, but is opening early with two shows, one at 5 p.m. and one at 8 p.m. to benefit the Ceran family. Tickets are $15.

Because the performance wasn't scheduled, Dietlein said that 100 percent of the funds raised can go toward helping the family.

"We expect to have them completely sold out. We're half-full already," Dietlein told The Associated Press. "People have been calling for tickets and saying, 'add 200 dollars, 100 dollars, 50 dollars.' "

You can also learn more by going to this website

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