Cope and Rigney, who are 9 and 6 years old, finally got hugs from their paralyzed grandfather after an eight-year wait. After a stroke in 2014, Kevin Eubanks was unable to move his left arm. He was able to give hugs to the kids with the use of a flexible wristband device.
Emily Sisco, Eubank’s daughter, works as an occupational therapy professor and developed this tool with her students. The “Hugger” was its original name, but it’s now known as the “HugAgain.”
Sisco was motivated to join the department after seeing all of the doctors treat her father, and then she decided to return to school to get her degree. Eubanks saw how much work they were putting in and it touched her heart to the point where she wanted to be able to help others.
When it came time for Eubanks to hug his grandkids, he couldn’t stop himself from crying. It was very emotional for him, and he always wanted to hug the family with both arms. He was able to hug his second grandchild, Rigney, who was born after his stroke. Eubanks told one of the interviewers that he couldn’t control himself at the moment and “cried and cried and cried.”
Eubanks wanted to say that the effect of any kind of touch should never be underestimated, whether it is a handshake or a hug. Personal touches express emotion to those you care about and can have a great influence on someone’s personality and mood.