Hundreds of friends and family gathered last weekend to celebrate the life of Hannah Rinehart of Decatur, 32, who died Wednesday from a rare bacterial infection.
The funeral was held at North Lanier Baptist Church in Cumming on Saturday. Hannah Rinehart was a patient care technician in DeKalb County. She and her husband, Mark, lived in Decatur.
"She is celebrating," Mark wrote on a Facebook page in her honor, "and I am thankful for God allowing me to have the privilege of being her husband while she was here on this Earth."
Hannah Mark met at a church in Duluth. They were both part of a Young Professionals class – a fancy name for singles, according to Rinehart – and noticed each other immediately.
The two didn’t date, however, until Hannah’s brother Daniel, a sailor in the U.S. Navy, met Mark and gave his sister the thumbs up.
After a few Facebook conversations, the pair started to date. They married in 2010.
The last weekend of June, Hannah and Mark were making some repairs on their deck and sprucing up their yard. They were both doing a lot of heavy labor, so when Hannah began complaining of neck and back pain they chalked it up to sore muscles.
“We were staining each and every spindle on our deck,” said Mark. “It made sense that she was tired and in pain.”
Then, on July 1, Hannah came down with a 103 degree fever and the shakes. Still, after a cold bath the fever broke and they went to bed.
Hannah is a two-time cancer survivor, but has been in remission for seven years. She was scheduled for a routine appointment at Northside Hospital the next day, and despite the fact that she felt awful, they kept her appointment.
By the time they got to the hospital, Mark had to half-carry her inside.
Blood cultures were sent to the Mayo Clinic, where it was determined she had a rare infection caused by a microbe, capnocytophga. The microbe, which typically lives in the saliva of dogs, got into her blood stream and caused massive organ failure.
While in the hospital, both of her hands and feet had to be amputated because medication directed blood away from her extremities and toward her vital organs.
As weeks passed, Hannah's condition deteriorated. She had fluid build-up in her lungs and her heart had a tough time staying strong. Doctors told the family on Tuesday that Hannah's body was "very, very tired." She died early Wednesday morning.
Her father, Doug Johnson, expressed thanks for the prayers of old and new friends worldwide.
"Many of you knew Hannah well," he wrote on Facebook, "and some of you only by the posts we have tried to put up to keep folks informed. Regardless…Thank You.
"We will grieve. But we have been doing that for over nine weeks... She loved people and she loved living. I will always be grateful that the Lord brought Mark Rinehart into her life. They were so complete. She adored her nieces and nephews. She loved her brothers and sister-in-laws. She loved and was grateful for her Mom who was always there for her.
"I will miss Hannah terribly. You are not supposed to follow your children into eternity. We find solace in the knowledge that today she has new hands and new feet."
(Editor's note: Snellville Patch was invited to Hannah's funeral. Use of pictures was approved by family.)