"I am overwhelmed with joy at your undertaking to honor the life of
Hannah. I'm here with tears in my eyes at the beauty, grace &
charity Hannah possessed in her short life. And I will be honored to
contribute toward her legacy. May God be always with you."
Born on the 4th of July, 1994 at 4:00AM, Hannah Mackensie Kriss was an independent free-spirited individual from the beginning with so much to offer to so many. Within 10 minutes of coming into this world, we realized just how special our Hannah Bean would grow up to be. By 4:45AM on that 4th, Hannah was put into the intensive care unit at the hospital for she could not keep her first formula down. We soon learned that this was just the beginning to the adversities Hannah would face for the rest of her life in being allergic to our world. You can name an item and she most likely had to deal with a reaction. It turned out that she could only have natural foods, while milk and soy caused her eczema to flare. For the first 2 years of her life Hannah’s bed remained next to her parents’, and many nights she would have to be held closely so that everyone else in the house could sleep.
She constantly dealt with allergies throughout all of her life, but once she reached the age of 2 she began her journey as a dancer with International Academy of Dance in Jarrettsville, Maryland, and this became her love and joy. She took every dance class she could in order to perfect her skills including tap, jazz, ballet, highland, swords, and lyrical. She found her passion quickly and never faltered from that day forward. She was truly inspirational and special, unique in her own way, with so much to offer to so many people who she touched each and everyday.
Some of our greatest memories of her early years include the many family Christmases where it was not the items underneath the tree which caught Hannah’s attention, but rather it was the boxes that held those items which she would crawl up inside and just laugh her very special giggle. This would foreshadow what we love most about Hannah Banana, her ability to be happy with the simplest things in life and to find her own way to smile and let us experience that unforgettable laugh. She tried T-Ball, and found it boring but liked to be out in the sun. She tried soccer, and would have rather been doing back handsprings and pirouettes. She tried basketball, got a jammed finger, and that was that. While she tried all of these other sports, she kept dancing and cheering along the way as well. We never had a dancer or cheerleader in the family as Meaghan, her older sister, was a soccer and softball stand-out athlete in High School and her brothers, Andrew and Alex, were stellar athletes in their own right as well, but then again we never had a left-handed individual as special as Hannah either. She danced to her own beat and thoroughly loved her music, her lucky number was 4, and her favorite color was green.
While she was dancing at a young age, she picked up gymnastics and this led to her other passion in cheerleading which began at age 8 when she joined Bel Air Recreational Cheer. At that time she told Andrew’s football coach that she wanted to be on the field playing instead of cheering - she was bored. The next year she learned about Vipers and, as she said, “Vipers ultimately made me who I am as a person and an athlete.” She was hooked from day one cheering competitively and dancing hip-hop and there was no turning back. The harder the skill, the happier Hannah became and the more determined she was to master it to perfection. She said about this experience, “I know that when I get on that floor or stage in front of the judges and crowd that I am going to engage everyone into every move I make.” She was right as she was commonly found front and center in the majority of the routines and on every team. She became a role model for the younger girls of Vipers Cheer and Dance and they looked up to her just as she looked up to the older girls when she was younger. She always gave her best effort and became frustrated when others only gave half, and she was just getting ready to give back to those younger girls in taking on her own team to coach and choreograph routines in the upcoming Fall of 2012. Hannah loved the Viper family and lived by the motto: Once a Viper, Always a Viper.
Along with being a Viper, Hannah was a peacemaker and true, loyal friend who loved to go to the beach and be free. She internally suffered greatly when a disservice was committed against another for she could not tolerate inequality. Hannah would seek someone who needed help and she would not stop helping them until she felt she had “saved” them and made an impact. She was encouraged to walk to her own beat just as she danced and laughed in her own happiness, as she went out and made a difference in a positive way. Even though she was dealing with a lot of stressors personally, she loved everyone and was always willing to put their happiness before her own. She would talk of bullies at school and through social media and never understood why they would treat others unfairly. She always tried to be the peacemaker of the situation or conflict and would do her best to find a stronger tomorrow for all. She would always be giving a sign of peace when she said, “hi” or “bye”, as she is seen doing so in her numerous pictures. Further, she loved hanging out with her friends from John Carroll as, together, they were her family outside of her family. Hannah always knew how to make everyone else happy, whether it was her smile, her laugh, or her loving kindness to bring about peace for all, everything about Hannah will be missed by all whom she touched and many more who may have not even have known her.
Regardless of what the world threw at her she was resilient in her mindset to make the most of what she had and to create peace among all. Hannah Mackensie was truly the most giving child we have ever known, an old soul with so much to give and so much more left to live. She is irreplaceable in every way as she lived her short life fully for the benefit of others and for the hope of a more peaceful world for all. It is only right that we strive to continue to carry out Hannah’s legacy and passions in her honor as she was, is, and forever will be an angel watching down on us all.
The Hannah Kriss Foundation is not-for-profit corporation and tax exempt charity
under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. FEI: 46-0796983 www.thehannahkrissfoundation.org