A woman who estimates she has hugged 500,000 soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, has promised she will be back from therapy for breast cancer.
Elizabeth Laird, 83, is known as the “Hug Lady” at Fort Hood, exactly where she has offered hugs to almost each soldier entering and leaving the base considering that 2003, when soldiers stationed there began deploying to Iraq.
“I don’t know when I started hugging, but one soldier hugged me and there was an additional soldier there, so I had to hug him and it kind of just snowballed,” she told the Killeen Day-to-day Herald in 2009.
“I hugged all the soldiers. I promised them that. I told them as they left, I’d be right here to hug them again when they came back.”
Ms Laird has a military background herself, getting enlisted in the US Air Force in 1950, the US Department of Veterans Affairs reported in a Facebook post earlier this month.
On November 3, she was admitted to hospital for treatment for the breast cancer she was 1st diagnosed with 10 years ago, and a GoFundMe page was set up to assist spend for her healthcare bills.
At the time, she was advised that she would not be able to live alone any longer and would want to go into an assisted care facility.
Soldiers began visiting her at the hospital to give her a hug, with a single man even travelling from New York.
“When they enter the space, they give me a hug and then we talk about something from their household to what it was like overseas or if they got a civilian job upon returning,” Ms Laird told NBC News.
“Occasionally the line is so extended that we have to turn folks away.”
Senior Sergeant Jarvez Wilkes told Texas tv network KCENTV it would be his honour to give her a hug in her time of require.
“You grow to be accustomed to it. It really is practically an expectation to know she’ll be there when you get home. You by no means feel of moments like this, and you take life for granted,” he stated.
The GoFundMe campaign aimed to raise $ US10,000 but has passed $ US93,000 ($ 128,000) in 15 days.
On November 20, the campaign page was updated to say that Ms Laird has been released from hospital to the Copperas Cove Nursing and Rehabilitation Centre.
On Wednesday, Texas tv network KCENTV had a statement from Ms Laird, saying she wanted to thank everybody for all they had been carrying out.
“Sorry I have not been able to come out there [the air field] however, but I will be back. God bless each and every and every single one particular of you. I look forward to seeing you again,” the statement mentioned.
Ms Laird also let soldiers know she was welcoming visitors to the nursing centre.
Subjects: human-interest, united-states