"Hug-A-Thon For Shawn" Is This Man's Way Of Memorializing His Friend, And It Will Make You Want To Cuddle Someone

The world has seen quite a few hug-a-thons over the ears, but seldom are they for reasons as tissue-worthy as Hug-A-Thon for Shawn. (Seriously, grab the nearest box of Kleenex for this one. You're going to need it.) The event is exactly what it sounds like: a hug-a-thon taking place in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles this week, during which strangers will meet up to dole out free hugs. Unlike most hug-a-thons, however, Nico Lang organized the event with purpose beyond just spreading the love: to memorialize his best friend, Shawn. On the Hug-A-Thon's Facebook page, Lang writes that Shawn passed away of a sudden heart attack due to her enlarged heart, which is "sadly fitting for someone as giving and caring as she was." It was difficult for everyone to adjust after Shawn's death, but her fiancee, who was "devastated," had an especially hard time. This week, on the anniversary of his best friend's death, Lang came up with a way to publicly honor Shawn's memory and comfort the fiancee she left behind, all while making random strangers' days a little better. Is Lang pretty much the best friend ever? All signs point to yes. The Hug-A-Thon will even be filmed for the benefit of Shawn's fiancee, so "any time he's feeling sad or depressed, he can watch it and see love." Speaking of sadness, are you crying yet? Because I'm at least three tissues in at this point.

<img alt="sad animated GIF " src="http://media.giphy.com/media/5qfvKbtwBs0jS/giphy.gif" class="article-body-image"/>The event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 2nd, from 12 p.m. until 5 p.m., and anyone with a "Free Hugs" sign and the desire to help out is welcome to join. If you'll be in Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles this weekend, you might want to consider stopping by. (More information on the event is at the Hug-A-Thon for Shawn Facebook Page.) After all, "it won't just make a difference in one person's life," Lang writes on Facebook. "I honestly think it makes the world a better place. I hope you do too."

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Images: stillwanderer/Flickr, buffyhugs/Tumblr, Giphy