OKLAHOMA CITY - Sara Cunningham is a local mom who's made it her life's mission to open her arms to bring more love to the LGBTQ community.
"For me, it just represents unconditional love. Everyone needs their mother. Everyone needs love and understanding of their mother,” Cunningham said.
It's a universal embrace the mom takes to events with her nonprofit organization called 'Free Mom Hugs.'
"I'll never forget a young lady that I met at a Pride parade. She said it had been four years since she received a hug from her mother and just had a meltdown right there," she said.
Cunningham's mission started three years ago after her son told her he is gay.
"We spent his whole life praying that gay away and, when he turned 21, he took a stand as a gay man and said, 'Mom, I met someone and I need you to be okay with it.' And, that's the day he faced his biggest fear, and that was me," she said.
Cunningham said it was a difficult experience at first.
"I didn't know where to look for resources. I needed to hear from someone who shared my faith that it's alright to search this matter out," she said.
Through a Facebook group, she was able to hear from other moms and gain a greater understanding through a new circle of friends.
"We all had the same story of being alienated and separated from our family members, from our church homes and our children being rejected from many forms of society,” Cunningham said.
Now 'Free Mom Hugs' is up for a grant by the Starbucks Foundation to win $25,000. Earning that would help her travel the country to raise awareness for the LGBTQ community.
"I need to stand up and fight for him like my hair's on fire, so that's what I’m doing," she said.
She's a mom on a mission to bring hugs to those who need one.