In February 2010, 51-year-old Jeff Ondash of Ohio set a new world record for the most hugs given in 24 hours. He spent the entire Valentine’s Day giving 7,777 hugs, in an effort to raise funds for the American Heart Association. He broke the previous world record by Siobhan O’Connor of Dublin, Ireland, who gave away 5,000 hugs in one day.
He gave away warm hugs, under the costumed alter ego Teddy McHuggin, outside the Paris Las Vegas Hotel-Casino in the Las Vegas Strip. “When you hug somebody, they all walk away from each other smiling. They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away; a hug a day – it’s just fun,” Jeff said.
According to Guinness World Records, he already had a Guinness World Record for giving the most number of hugs in one hour, with 1,205. It was set last May 2008 in Boardman, Ohio.
Jeff explained he wanted to become a hugging champion in order to raise funds for the American Heart Association. He also added that this cause was very important to him because his father and brother both died young due to heart problems.
Currently, Jeff wants to break the world record for the longest single hug, which is 24 hours and 1 second. However, he was uncertain about doing so, saying “I don’t even know if I can do that but I’m going to attempt it. It’s like climbing Mount Everest twice – same thing”.
However, in 2013, a man named Jonathan Sexton, broke Jeff’s world record. He gave 8,709 hugs in 24 hours at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in USA.
Check out the video below.