How Christina Rose Hanson loved to dance. An advantage of dancing while seated in a wheelchair was that it caused less wear and tear to her shoes.
A confirmed “people person” with a glowing personality, 27-year-old Hanson had no interest in allowing leg paralysis from spina bifida to isolate her from others or from life.
As a child she learned sign language to allow her to converse with and interpret for people with impaired hearing. In recent times she worked voluntarily with residents of the Primrose memory-care home in Santa Rosa who deal with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Kind, bubbly, caring, happy, social, positive, charismatic, joyful in the face of adversity — all were terms people close to Hanson have used to describe her.
She graduated in 2008 from California High School in San Ramon, where counselor Katherine Richards called her “the most compassionate woman I have ever met.”
“Whenever I saw her in the hallway she would always call my name and gave me the biggest hug,” Richards told the Cal High newspaper. “She couldn’t stand someone having a bad day.”
After graduation, Hanson left Contra Costa County and came to Sonoma County. She lived here with her dad, glass blower Mike Hanson, and her stepmother, Jennifer Watson.
The couple had a home northeast of Santa Rosa on Wikiup Bridge Way, off Mark West Springs Road. Christina Hanson occupied an apartment in the back.
The Tubbs fire roared onto the property early the morning of Oct. 9. Hanson’s limited mobility surely contributed to her inability to escape the fast-moving flames.
On Tuesday the 10th, a fire inspector entered the remains of the apartment and found the wreckage of Hanson’s wheelchair and leg braces alongside the frame of her bed. A DNA test subsequently confirmed that she had perished there.
Mike Hanson’s house was consumed, too, and he suffered severe burns. As he slowly heals at the Bothin Burn Center at St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco, family members and friends seek assistance for him.
The Mike & Christina Hanson Support Fund is at youcaring.com. Also, fellow glassblowers from around the country have contributed hand-blown tumblers that are being sold for $50 each, with the proceeds going to help Christina Hanson’s father recover. Details are at buyacupformike.com.
The Press Democrat remembers the 40 lives lost in the North Bay fires. Click here for more of the stories.