Several Gwinnett County teachers want to donate sick time so their co-worker can care for his wife once she's out of the hospital.
Mark Rinehart's wife, 32-year-old Hannah Rinehart, is winning her 14-year battle with cancer. But in late July, she had to have her hands and feet amputated.
Rinehart told CBS Atlanta News that his wife's cancer treatments weakened her immune system, making her susceptible to a bacteria most people could fight off. The medication she had to take cut off blood flow to her hands and feet.
"She's well considering," said Rinehart. "We're hopeful she'll be getting out of the hospital soon and moving into rehab."
Rinehart, who is a Gwinnett County school teacher, is fighting his own battle.
"I just want to make sure I'm as available for my wife as I can be," said Rinehart.
Several of his co-workers have offered to donate their sick time to help out.
The district has a "sick leave bank" employees can donate time to. According to district policy, the bank is for sick employees only, not to take care of sick family members.
In an email, the district told CBS Atlanta News, "While we understand this is a catastrophic situation for this employee, this is not a simple change. Currently, we have 131 people on leave who are not receiving pay because they have used all of their available sick leave."
Rinehart and his friends plan to challenge the policy. They, along with dozen co-workers, will attend the school board meeting on Thursday.
"I believe no matter what this situation results, God will provide," said Rinehart.
If things go as planned, Hannah Rinehart could start rehab sometime next month.
You can follow Hannah Rinehart's progress by going to the family's website.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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