The HUG Story

Helen Shearer faced the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness. Described by her husband Gerald as a “very caring woman, who always embraced those she loved with a greeting hug”, he states she was a “real hugger”. Gerald and Helen received support from the Colchester East Hants Palliative Care team as they faced the difficult news and their journey ahead.

While she was in hospital, Helen suggested to Gerald that he use his wood working skills to create a small wooden HUG to give as a gesture of gratitude to the nurses, doctors, social workers and volunteers who made up the team caring for them.

Gerald was unable to create this HUG before Helen died. As he faced the hardship of his loss, Gerald found solace in his workshop carrying through with Helen’s wishes. He created several small wooden HUGS and visited the team to thank them again for their support.

Over the years, Gerald has hand crafted thousands of HUGS that he donated to the organization. The HUGS have been shared with people throughout Canada and the United States, Europe and soldiers in Afghanistan. These HUGS have been embraced by many individuals in our region. Children and youth in schools, clubs, seniors’ groups and many other caring individuals have all supported this initiative by painting, sharing as everyone needs a HUG at times.

In recent years, Gerald has been unable to make the wooden HUGs; however, another dedicated volunteer has continued to honour Helen’s memory and continues to create the wooden shapes.  The HUG has also inspired our HUG Line of Products.

HUG Line of Products

Our HUG Line of Products was inspired by The Hug Story and the wooden HUG shapes hand crafted by Gerald Shearer.  In 2020, Colchester East Hants Hospice Society created a new way to remember the love shared by Gerald and Helen. 

It is the hope of Colchester East Hants Hospice Society that these new items will help spread the wonderful message of gratitude and love from Gerald and Helen’s original story to people everywhere in order to share and enjoy the gift of a HUG.  We are proud to partner with local business in Colchester and East Hants and bring unique gift ideas to you in support of our programs and services during the year.