Eight years ago, Kevin Eubanks of Jonesboro, Arkansas suffered a stroke that left him with lasting weakness on his left side. He has fought his way back to a new normal in many ways, but he still can’t do simple tasks like giving his grandchildren a big hug anymore.
Kevin’s daughter, Emily Eubanks Sisco, happens to work with Occupational Therapy students as an adjunct professor at Arkansas State University. She challenged her OT students to create a solution for her dad, and they came through with flying colors!
“We just all came together and said that is so sad that he wants to hug and he can’t,” said student Erica Dexter. “We’ve just got to do something about that.”
Emily’s students created an adaptive device called “The Hugger.” It’s a simple fabric strap with Velcro closures that enables the wearer to use the strength of their dominant arm to lift their weaker arm. Kevin was involved in its development, so it was only right that he give the invention its first real-life trial run. Emily captured video of the moment her dad tried on The Hugger, and her son stepped in as the “huggee.” As soon as Kevin put on the device and lifted his arm high enough to hold his grandson he started to weep, and we’re crying right along with him!
“I appreciate everything y’all have done,” Kevin said emotionally. “This is a dream of mine.”
The Hugger is now called HugAgain, and they’re hoping to make them available for purchase very soon. Emily says she’s glad to be able to demonstrate the power of OT to take “what may seem impossible and making it possible again.”
Watch the sweet moment when Kevin hugs his grandson for the first time in 8 long years in the video above, and don’t forget to share.
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