Toronto dance crew raising money for Degrassi actor's mom following his death
Beloved Toronto actor Jahmil French, known for his roles on Degrassi: The Next Generation and Netflix's Soundtrack, died at the age of 28 earlier this month, and the performer's dance crew is now raising money to help support his mother.
French joined the The Moon Runners dance crew back in 2010, according to fellow member Steve Ndacyayisenga, and Ndacyayisenga says his passion for the arts inspired the rest of the team to constantly dream bigger and worker harder.
"His love for dance and entertaining led him to join and we all became inseparable," Ndacyayisenga tells blogTO. "Our crew is much more than dance, it's a brotherhood."
So when French died suddenly on March 1, Ndacyayisenga and the rest of the crew decided to step up and help his mom, Jodi French, who is unable to work due to a disability.
"We knew we needed to help support Jodi bear the cost of his passing and to seek therapy to cope through this trauma," he says, adding that the actor was an only child and his mother's last blood-related family member.
Ndacyayisenga therefore started a GoFundMe campaign on her behalf, and all the money raised will go towards cremation and memorial arrangements as well as grief therapy and Jodi's medical bills.
As of March 25, the campaign has raised just $4,526 of its $20,000 goal.
But while these funds will make life a bit easier for a mother in mourning, Ndacyayisenga says nothing will be able to replace Jahmil's incredible presence.
"Jahmil was a talented, proud, loving man. He dreamed big, was always up for an adventure and would light up any room he walked into with just his smile," Ndacyayisenga says. "He'd dance to any music and loved Michael Jackson. If you played it, he'd just break out in dance, no matter where he was."
"As dancers we are trained to 'be free' in our movement and to not be restricted by fear or doubt. Jahmil was the embodiment of freedom of self. He lived with no fear, confident in who he was and encouraged us as a crew to continue to believe in ourselves and break any limits we think we had."
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