Get a hug for Jessica

PHOTO COURTESY OF LISA SHERMAN Jessica Snyder (right) spends time with her son, Coltyn, and her canine sidekick, Lovey.

Jessica Snyder was all about spreading love and light, her sister says.

Those spending time in downtown Tiffin Dec. 10 are to receive that love and light through Tim Schwartz and his Free Hug Happy Hour.

Lisa Sherman said Snyder, her sister, had a passion for music. Snyder followed close friends in bands and came across Schwartz with a sign notifying passers-by about free hugs in a New York City subway.

Snyder and Schwartz shared a hug.

Sherman said Schwartz reached out to her after he found out Snyder had died. The family pledged to make the free-hug event happen.

“He wanted to do it on her birthday,” Sherman said.

Schwartz is to start his Free Hug Happy Hour at 3 p.m. Dec. 10 at Washington and Market streets in downtown Tiffin. The day would have been Snyder’s 39th birthday.

Snyder, who always said strangers were her next best friend she hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting yet, graduated from Calvert High School in 1997 and most recently lived in Bowling Green with her son, Coltyn.

Her family — including Coltyn of Columbus; her mother and stepfather, Ann and Jonathan Scott of Benton; father and stepmother, Dick and Robin Snyder of Tennessee; brother and sister-in-law, Rick and Holly Snyder of Mississippi; sister Ellie Scott of Cleveland; boyfriend Greg Burns of Michigan; and Sherman and her husband, Bill, of Tiffin — all are to be at the event.

Sherman said the family is happy to host Schwartz, who travels everywhere.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” she said.

Sherman said her sister had a lot of trials and tribulations and came through all of them.

Sherman said Snyder, a registered nurse, had had a kidney disease as a child, but was living medicated and fine. A massive heart attack in February 2009 left her with 20 percent function of her heart, and doctors were baffled that she was alive, Sherman said.

After the heart attack, Snyder was on dialysis for almost four years, waiting for a transplant. The family drove through a snowstorm to The Ohio State University after a kidney was found. They were told doctors had found Snyder’s one-in-a-million, Sherman said.

She said the transplant was successful, although Snyder had her ups and downs in recovery.

“She did well,” she said.

Snyder’s heart gave out, and she died June 3.

Sherman said Snyder was young and beautiful, and one wouldn’t know the struggles she had.

According to Sherman, Snyder did not let her illness and trials define her, and they made her stronger and more caring and loving. Snyder loved life and people and didn’t want to be “poor me,” she said.

“She wanted to know what was going on with you: How can I help you?” she said.

Sherman said Snyder was “super friendly,” usually was the life of the party and had people laughing.

“(She was) very loving, very caring,” she said.

Sherman said “strength” is the first word that comes to mind about Snyder. She said she knows her sister had a trying life.

“She made the best of it,” she said.