LOS ANGELES -- A Southern California man was in downtown LA Monday giving hugs to anyone that would take one. He was on a mission to break the Guinness World Record for most hugs in one day.
David Parsons, of Glendora, was inspired by his friend Sharon Perkins, who died of cancer, to raise money for Grants Wishes, a nonprofit that helps children battling cancer.
In total, Parsons gave 3,162 hugs -- which, although short of his 10,000-hug goal, was a success in his eyes. "My number-one goal was always just to raise funds and awareness for Grants Wishes," Parsons told The Huffington Post. He raised $2,062 for the nonprofit that grants wishes to cancer patients.
When Perkins was 24 years old, she passed away when her cancer relapsed.
"There was a point at which I was hugging people and realized that I had 3,162 opportunities to take that one hug that I didn’t realize would be my last with Sharon and to give that love that she gave me," he said.
Parsons stood in front of the ESPN Zone at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles Monday with over 50 hug-recruiting volunteers.
The current world record is 8,709 hugs in 24 hours, achieved by Jonathan Sacks at the Bonnaroo music festival in 2010 to raise money for flood victims in Nashville.
But failing to beat the record has only fueled Parsons to try again. He has already begun planning his second try, which might take place at either the SXSW music festival or the U.S. Open of Surfing competition in Huntington Beach.
"There's so much power in a hug. It requires trust, a sense of vulnerability," Parsons said to HuffPost. "You look someone right in the eyes before you give a hug. You realize you could be physically and emotionally sharing that person's burden."
"We always talk about changing the world," he said. "But even by doing simple things you can make a difference."
Click on Sponsor A Hug at the bottom right of Grants Wishes' site to help out.