News ID: 269111
Published: 1053 GMT May 16, 2020

Illinois great-grandma hugs family through special device

Illinois great-grandma hugs family through special device

Rose Gagnon said she hasn’t been able to hug her family members for months — probably any grandmother’s worst nightmare. The 85-year-old, who lives in Rockford, Illinois, usually sees her granddaughter and her kids every day. Due to social distancing guidelines, that has proven to be difficult.

Gagnon’s granddaughter, Carly Marinaro, wanted to find a way for her family members to embrace. “I was getting to the point of, ‘Oh my gosh I can’t handle this. I need to hug her, the kids need to hug her,'” Marinaro told CBS affiliate WIFR.

So, she created a ‘hug time’ device allowing her kids to safely embrace their great-grandmother. “The frame is just PVC pipe and then the plastic is a window insulator kit for a sliding glass door,” Marinaro explained. The ‘hug time’ device looks like a wall of plastic, but two holes with arm attachments allow loved ones to slip their arms around each other without actually making contact.

Therefore, they can embrace and continue to prevent the spread of the coronavirus to vulnerable people like Gagnon.

Marinaro built her family’s ‘hug time’ device out of PVC pipe and plastic from a glass door insulator kit.

When she saw the device, Gagnon said she felt like her heart was going to burst. “I wanted to cry because I couldn’t believe that this was happening it just means a lot,” Gagnon said.

“We’re not meant to be apart like this or be isolated and it’s sad for those people that can’t be around their family members. I’m just glad that we can share this type of happiness with people,” Marinaro said.

Even though there’s plastic in between their hugs, this family proves nothing can come between their love. “This is what love is all about. This is precious,” Gagnon said.

Thanks to her inventive granddaughter, Gagnon gets to hug her family without risking exposure to coronaviurs.

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