Embracing the message of ‘free hugs’ in Truro

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By Baillie Saunders SPECIAL TO THE TRURO DAILY NEWS

TRURO- An embrace from a complete stranger may sound uncomfortable for some. 

Craig Johnson of the Colchester East Hants Hospice Society holds up a “free hugs” sign in front of the Hospice house. The society will be giving out hugs on Inglis Place this Friday as a part of hospice awareness.

But not for Colchester East Hants Hospice Society members who will be giving free hugs to anyone passing by on Inglis Place from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday.

 Fund development co-ordinator Craig Johnson says it’s a fun way to uplift spirits and to present the importance of hospice.

“For us, it’s partially for awareness,” he said. “We believe in healthy living and healthy dying. It’s all about positive living, relationships and community.

“And it’s a fun thing to do.”

The free hugs event began in 2008 in memory of Helen Shearer who passed away in the Hospice Society’s palliative care program.

Because Shearer was described as a “hugger” the society decided to round up volunteers and hold signs offering free hugs to any passersby. Shearer’s husband also created Helen’s HUGS which are handmade wooden hugs, now requested and purchased from people around the world.

Johnson said, “It’s important for our message to get out there and to get in touch with as many as people as possible during a time of need in periods of terminal illness and death.”

Volunteers will also be giving out free hugs at Sobeys in Elmsdale during that time.

“It’s fun to meet people and to get out in the community and to chat with people,” said Johnson.

“Everyone that does the event comes out with a positive experience.”

Organizations: DAILY NEWS, Colchester East Hants Hospice Society, Sobeys

Geographic location: Truro, Inglis Place, Elmsdale

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  • Brenda Reid
    February 13, 2014 - 15:33

    I am a volunteer for Hospice in Tatamagouche,I give anyone a hug if the want one! In Flordia for a vacation,but will be back volunteering in April at LFMH ,Tatamagouche! Wish I was in Truro for one of those Hugs!