Volunteer hugged 500,000 war-bound troops

(U.S. Dept. of Veteran Affairs)

Send some prayers for a woman who has touched thousands of lives. Elizabeth Laird is known as the "Hug Lady" at Fort Hood in Texas.

Since 2003, when Fort Hood soldiers started deploying to Iraq, she has been on-hand there to say goodbye and hug every soldier getting on a plane for deployment, and greeting them with a hug when they get off the plane home.

It's estimated that she has hugged close to 500,000 troops over the years.

Elizabeth is 83 years old but was there day and night for "her soldiers" as she calls them. She had only missed about a dozen flights over the years and made sure someone was there in her place.

Now, she's fallen into bad health.  She was hospitalized after breast cancer spread to her bones.

Some of those same troops that she gave hugs too at the base has been going to the hospital to repay the gift.

On Monday, Katie Evans-Young posted an update: "Mrs. Laird is my grandmama. She was discharged from the hospital to a nursing care facility but took a turn for the worse today. She doesn't think she has much longer with us. Family is gathering around her and my aunt is spending the night with her at the nursing home. Thank you all for taking care of my grandmama and giving her hugs when we weren't here to give them. Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes."

People have donated more than $93,000 for The Hug Lady's care on a GoFundMe page.

Thank you for your service, Elizabeth!