toronto law firm receptionist

More than $60k raised for family of Toronto law firm receptionist murdered at work

Family and friends of 29-year-old Julia Ferguson, a law firm receptionist was fatally stabbed at her workplace in Toronto on Thursday, are reeling this week in the wake of a loss that they describe as "unfathomable" and "universally jarring."

And they're not alone.

News of the young woman's tragic death has clearly touched a nerve, prompting people from all over the city and far beyond to step up with donations for her loved ones and give Ferguson "the send off she deserves," as a GoFundMe page created in honour puts it.

More than $60,000 has been raised through the campaign in less than 24 hours as of Monday morning at 9 a.m.

Police say that a woman, later identified as Ferguson, was found with stab wounds inside the law office of Hicks Adams LLP at 238 King Street East, just east of Sherbourne on Thursday afternoon around 2 p.m.

Friends say Ferguson was "attacked and stabbed in the chest" while working as a receptionist for the firm, which specializes in criminal defence.

"The stab wound to her chest resulted in a puncture wound to her heart leaving her without vital signs upon paramedics arrival. Due to Julia's strength the paramedics were able to resuscitate her and she was rushed to the hospital," reads the GoFundMe campaign.

"Though Julia sustained critical injuries the doctors were cautiously optimistic."

Sadly, the campaign's creators — who describe themselves as a collaboration of Julia's closest friends — say that Ferguson was pronounced brain dead on Sept. 4. She was taken off life support the following day while surrounded by loved ones.

"Never could we imagine losing our friend so young and so tragically. Julia fought for her life as hard as she could so that her friends and family would be able to say goodbye," reads the GoFundMe. "She leaves behind a mother, brother, boyfriend, family and many friends who will miss her dearly."

A Toronto man named Osman Osman, 33, surrendered to police shortly after the stabbing incident and has since been charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.

Police have deemed Ferguson the city's 55th homicide victim of 2021 and say they expect Osman's charges to be upgraded. He remains in custody.

It appears as though the suspect and victim did not know each other, though Osman is said to have had some sort of relationship with the law firm itself.

"The accused had a relationship with the business… not with the female victim in this incident," said Toronto Police Detective Sergeant Tiffany Castell during a press conference on Monday, noting that the attack was "not random" and that "the business itself was certainly the target."

Chris Hicks, one of the law firm's partners, told CBC News similarly on Thursday that the attack was "not personal in any way" in regards to Ferguson.

"If you were blessed to know Julia you know what a beautiful and kindhearted soul she was. Those who know her can tell you that she was an exceptional human being. Julia was young, beautiful, vivacious and full of life," reads the GoFundMe campaign set up in Ferguson's memory.

"Julia was also a cherished part of the team at Hicks Adams LLP. Not only did she run the front desk with kindness and compassion, she offered her insight and ideas to improve the firm."

Friends say Ferguson's presence at the office brightened days and that the entire firm is devastated by her loss. Hicks confirmed this to Global News on Monday, telling the outlet that his entire staff is "just shattered" by the devastating, unforseen and unforseeable experience.

"Even in her passing Julia will be helping others seeing that she decided to be an organ donor," wrote her friends on the GoFundMe page. "She felt it was important to give anything she could to those in need. She will live on in our memories and through those she has and will help."

All money raised through the fundraiser will go directly to the Ferguson family, according to friends of the deceased.

"Julia always put everyone before herself and did everything she could to take care of those around her," they wrote. "Due to her sudden and tragic passing we are reaching out to the community to help her family who are suffering the greatest loss. Any and every contribution helps and is greatly appreciated even if it is prayer and sharing her story with your family and friends."

Lead photo by

Lisa S./GoFundMe

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