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Local Mother Loses Battle With COVID-19

“No matter how bad of a day I was having or the kids she always found a positive light. She was a free spirit.”

That’s what Ryan Lauf of Johnstown said about his wife, Whitney.

They were together for over 10 years, with 4 little ones (all under the age of 16).

“My wife Whitney was always just the most outgoing person. Negativity to her was not something that existed,”

Last month, the couple tested positive for COVID-19.

Ryan got better as the days went on, but Whitney got worse.

“She was just not getting better,” Ryan said.

“Just different breathing apparatuses they had on her, just trying to help get oxygen to the lungs.”

She made trips back and forth from the hospital before going on a ventilator.

Ryan said she was transported to a hospital in Pittsburgh for her final days.

“Really it was just a hope and a prayer at that moment.”

Ryan said Whitney was healthy with no prior health conditions and that she was not vaccinated.

At the age of 34, Whitney lost her battle with COVID-19.

“It just didn’t go our way,” Ryan said.

“We actually visited her the day she passed away on August 30th. We went down, we came back, and I wasn’t in my house 40 minutes until they’re calling me on the phone telling me that I have to come back down.”

“We all got (together) as a family mom, my mother, and father in law and rushed back down to say our goodbyes, and that was it.”

They won’t be able to hold Whitney’s hand again, but each of their four children will receive her handprint.

“(The hospital) made handprints of my wife before she passed on pieces of paper that I’m getting framed for the kids, so they’ll all have a handprint of Whitney,” Ryan said.

The Johnstown community has also been rallying around the Lauf family.

Their loved ones started a “Meal Train,” where community members can sign up to give the family a meal.

Her friends also made a Go Fund Me account which has raised almost $40,000 dollars so far.

“That’s really truly what we’re going to use the money for. Future education and hospital bills, unfortunately, for Whitney,” Ryan said.

Ryan says he’s now Mr. Mom with a goal of making sure those four little ones never forget their mom.

“For me, it’s just to constantly remind the kids of how great of a mom they had, and how blessed they were for even the little bit of time they had with her.”


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