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Viral Kindness
During this COVID-19 crisis, people are stepping up and spreading goodwill. We want to hear about the ways in which Kansans are responding to this emergency with compassion, and shine a light on the humans that exemplify humanity.Every other Friday, we'll share your stories on KMUW's new commentary, Viral Kindness.Share your experience. Use the 'Talk to Us' feature on the KMUW app, or leave a voicemail at (316) 978-6789.

Viral Kindness: The Power Of A Hug

courtesy photo

This week on Viral Kindness, social worker Allison Graham talks about the power of a hug.

"I have been isolated since the pandemic started. Not a lot of physical contact. Six hugs now, the entire time. So, a year: six hugs. March 19 was the last pre-pandemic hug that I had. I can actually recount these times of physical comfort and physical contact in a year.

In November, I went to the chiropractor. My chiropractor, her name is Ericka, was recovering from brain surgery, a brain tumor. Surgery, chemo, and radiation. Her immune system was completely wiped out. And she was still seeing people and being really careful. I went to her because I was having some chronic pain. Went through the whole process. She doesn’t wear gloves, she just uses hand sanitizer. I did the table, where she adjusted me. Then she had me sit in a chair to do a different thing. After we were done, my arm was on the side of the chair. And she just reached over and kind of rubbed my arm. The kind of touch we had pre-pandemic.

That was the first time someone had touched me instead of me comforting them. It was a really big deal, and I started getting emotional, like I’m getting emotional now. And then she had me stand and pulled me into a hug and I just cried. It wasn’t just that someone was trying to comfort, but someone who…they’re putting themselves in danger. A hug to me is an act of love, especially now. It was something that I’m going to remember for the rest of my life."

Sarah Jane Crespo is the Director of Community Engagement at KMUW. She is the creator and host of Engage ICT and the weekly Engage ICT Mini series.