"When you hug somebody, they all walk away
from each other smiling," Ondash said. "They say an apple
a day keeps the doctor away; a hug a day - it’s just fun."
Ondash, who sought the squeezes under the costumed
alter ego Teddy McHuggin, broke the world record for
Hugs Given in 24 Hours Saturday night outside the
Paris Las Vegas hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The previous Guinness world record for
Hugs Given in 24 Hours is 5,000 hugs in one day and
was set last year by Siobhan O'Connor in Dublin, Ireland.
Guinness World Records said Jeff Ondash
of Canfield, Ohio, already holds the Guinness World Record
hugs given in one hour, with 1,205. That record was set
in May 2008 in Boardman, Ohio.
Ondash said he wanted to become the
world’s hugging champion to raise money for the American
Heart Association during American Heart month. The
cause is important to him because his brother and father both
died relatively young because of heart problems, he said.
Ondash says he, as McHuggin, is now
eyeing both the world’s longest single hug - currently 24
hours and 1 second - and breaking his current two records
consecutively, which he said was "unheard of."
"I don’t even know if I can do that but I’m going
to attempt it," Ondash said. "It’s like climbing Mount Everest
twice - same thing."