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Allison Holker made a rare public appearance Friday to honor her late husband Stephen “tWitch” Boss at the annual gala of the National Alliance of Mental Illness Westside Los Angeles (NAMI WLA). Speaking before a crowd of 450 guests at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, Holker took the stage to accept the NAMI WLA “Heart of a Champion Award” in honor of Boss, who passed away tragically in December.
After a tribute video highlighting Twitch’s seemingly unwavering optimism and zest for life, Holker appeared on stage with daughter Weslie Fowler to announce a partnership between NAMI WLA and the Boss Family Foundation’s “Move With Kindness” program, which uses dance and movement to promote mental and physical health.
“We promise to continue to move from love and joy forever and always,” Holker said, adding that it was more important than ever to be “teaching young children and adults how to get help with their mental health.”
The dancer and actress got emotional as she thanked her friends in the audience — which included Derek Hough and Jenna Dewan — for their support during the last few months, and for “making us feel so safe.”
Holker, Hough and Dewan were just one of a number of celebrity guests to attend Friday night’s gala, which raised money for NAMI WLA’s ongoing efforts to end stigma through mental health education. As one of the speakers for the evening eloquently stated, “You can be struggling but you can also be strong; but you can be strong and also be hurting.”
Friday night’s gala was one of Holker’s first official public appearances since Boss’ death in December. The dancer and DJ was found unresponsive at an LA-area motel on December 13. The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s office later confirmed that the cause of death was suicide.
In a press release, NAMI WLA called Boss “a husband, dedicated father, and friend to so many,” adding that “In the midst of tragedy, the Boss Family has spotlighted mental health in the media and has become such an inspiration to so many individuals that are suffering in silence every day.”
Holker has continued to keep mental health in the spotlight, hoping to use her experiences to help other families going through similar situations. Last week, the longtime So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With the Stars pro announced that she would be releasing a children’s book next year titled Keep Dancing Through: A Boss Family Groove. Inspired by her family’s journey “through the ups and downs” of life, the book encourages kids to seek love — and be love — to everyone around them, but also to themselves.
“Stephen and I created this book in the Summer of 2021 in hopes that it spreads kindness and hope,” Holker wrote on Instagram. “I am so proud of what our family made and to continue that legacy and light. Our family more than ever believes that we can KEEP DANCING THROUGH.”