Arkansas man hugs again after 8 years

Published: Feb. 8, 2022 at 9:22 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2022 at 10:29 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The happiness on a Northeast Arkansas man’s face showed how much a simple hug can mean.

The moment was made possible with the help of “HugAgain”, a tool created by a group of occupational therapy assistant students at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.

They never thought their class project would make such a huge impact.

“One of the things my dad wanted to do was to be able to hug again,” said Emily Sisco, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at Arkansas State University.

Kevin Eubanks, Sisco’s dad, had a stroke 8 years ago, making it difficult to hug with both arms.

This year, Sisco wanted to give her students hands-on experience with working with a real client: Her dad.

“We Facetimed, and so he was able to tell the students how he missed fishing and how he missed spending time with his grandsons,” Sisco said.

Larissa Garcia, Lisa James, Erica Dexter, and Casey Parsons, along with the rest of the class, brainstormed ways to help Eubanks.

“Erica was pretty persistent,” James said. “She was like “Guys. I think this is it. This is the one, this is one we need to concentrate on”, and we all got on board with that.”

The group remembered Eubanks missed not being able to give a hug, so they looked for materials to fix that.

“Students created a piece of adaptive equipment which allowed him to do the thing he missed and desired to be able to do,” Sisco said.

The group found soft materials at home and figured out a way for Eubanks’ strong arm to support the other.

The “HugAgain” tool was born, and Eubanks was grateful for the creation.

Hours after Sisco posted the video of Eubanks, giving hugs to family and friends to see, millions of others were also happy Eubanks was able to hug again.

“It could be something that not just helps one, but a lot of clients,” Parsons said.

According to the CDC, over 700,000 people in the US have a stroke every year. 80% of those experience movement or mobility problems afterward.

“Everyone that is watching this can visualize using it and having the same reaction that he did,” Sisco said.

The group said a lot of people have reached out to their Facebook page to get a “HugAgain”.

They said they see everyone’s messages and they are looking at options to get them to more people that need their new creation.

For more information on the “HugAgain” tool, you can visit the students’ Facebook page.

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