JONESBORO, Ark. – You never know when life takes a turn and changes forever. For Kevin Eubanks life took a hard turn on February 7, 2014.

Eubanks had a heart disease called atrial fibrillation but did not know it. The disease causes the heart to beat rapidly and irregularly. It then forms blood clots in the chamber of the heart that could potentially turn serious.

“What’s crazy is he had no previous health condition,” Eubanks daughter Emily Sisco said. “He took Benadryl and allergy medicine.”

Due to the disease, Eubanks suffered an unexpected severe stroke that paralyzed the left side of his body.

“There were days in therapy where I hurt so bad. I remember going home with tears in my eyes from the pain that I had suffered that day,” Eubanks said. “But, the next day you’d get up and the first thing that would pop into my mind was the therapist that was working with me and how excited they would get when seeing a new movement out of me.”

image courtesy Emily Sisco

As time passed, Eubanks steadily improved, and his daughter Emily was inspired and wanted to become an occupational therapist.

“I got to watch the therapists literally heal him,” Sisco said. “I knew that ASU had started their OTA program. They just had their first class, and I went home one night and told my husband that I’m going to apply for this program. This is what I want to do. I’ve seen them help my dad and I want to do the same for others.”

“That’s very emotional for me that she decided to do that,” Eubanks added.

image courtesy Emily Sisco

Emily got her now second degree from Arkansas State. A couple of years after that, the university asked her to come back and teach occupational therapy.

“Of course, I said yes,” Sisco said. “I’ve been here for about three years.”

Emily is currently an adjunct professor and had a case study for her class. The subject was her father, and the goal was to help him do the things that he used to be able to do that he now couldn’t because of his disability.

So, four students did a Facetime call with him.

“He mentioned fishing, grilling and things,” Erica Dexter said. “He mentioned at the end that he missed hugging people. That really touched our heart.”

“It really wasn’t difficult to come up with how we wanted to do it,” Lisa James explained. “Now that we have the idea, how do we make it durable so it’s able to work?”

The four came up with the ‘Hug Again’ and presented it to the class.

“Everyone in the class at that moment was touched because they were like, ‘Oh, that’s the best one,’” Emily said. “I was tearing up in class because I was already visualizing how my dad was going to react.”

“Our family loves to hug,” Eubanks said. “For me, yes I can hug with one arm, but it wasn’t a natural feeling. I love the bear hug and that just means so much more. Up to that time I hadn’t given my grandsons the bear hug that I wanted to give them. I enjoyed that moment and I still cherish that moment.”

Emily recorded her father’s reaction when he was able to bear hug his grandkids for the first time to show them the kind of impact they made.

“I cried like a baby,” Casey Parsons said while laughing. “I was like ‘I don’t cry!’”

“There wasn’t a dry eye among us watching that video,” James said. “To realize something so small made a huge impact.”

“Those girls mean a lot to me now for what they have done,” Eubanks added. “When you’re in a situation like what I’m in it’s difficult. You don’t know when something is going to come up and help you in your everyday life and the way that you live life.”

“Once I saw his reaction, I was like, ‘Yeah, we have to put this on Facebook,’” Sisco said. “We have a lot of family, friends, loved ones and people in the community that love my dad and look up to him.”

On Facebook alone, the video has over 4.6 million views and it’s only going up from there.

image courtesy Emily Sisco

“It brings joy to my heart that there might be somebody out there that has been affected in a positive way,” Eubanks commented. “It might give them hope and reason to say better things are coming and they are coming.”

The four highlighted students came up with the Hug Again, however it was other members of the class that came up with a way for Kevin to fish using a drill and a fishing pole and created devices to help him play card games with just one arm.

“Initially we talked about other alternatives, like maybe we can do this for him or different things,” Larissa Garcia said. “But, we would always go back to that one comment that he had made. Erica was the one who was the most insistent on it, but we were all on the same boat. This is something we need to do for him.”

“We’ve had a lot of people reach out and say, ‘this video reminded me why I’m doing what I’m doing.’ I think that’s so important too,” Sisco added. “I think it’s not only giving hope to people with disabilities but also for the medical community in realizing that that’s why I’m in this career.”

“I feel like it’s a special therapy and that’s why we all got into it,” Dexter said. “We look at each client and what’s important to them and try to help them in that area.”

There’s no doubt that Kevin Eubanks has been through a lot, especially the last eight years. However, he wants his story to bring hope to others.

“Don’t ever give up,” Eubanks stated. “The brain is always learning. Even from injuries it’s always learning to try new things. Always trust in the Lord and trust in your therapists that are working with you.”

Since the video was posted to social media there has been a high demand for the Hug Again. If you would like to buy one or get more information on the product you can go to the device’s Facebook page.