Water Valley native inspires #DanceforDeb campaign with viral video

Published 10:34 am Monday, September 26, 2016

When Water Valley native Antonio Hoskins found out that his grandmother, Debra Bounds, was diagnosed with cancer, he knew he had to do something to cheer her up even though he was thousands of miles away.

So, he danced.

The 27-year-old U.S. Navy officer, who is currently on active duty in Romania, wasn’t expecting his moves to Michael Jackson’s “Got Me Working Day and Night” to be viewed by thousands online, but that’s exactly what happened after the video he thought would only be seen by his ailing grandma was posted to Facebook by Hoskins’ aunt, Judy Bounds.

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Soon after the video made its initial online rounds, Hoskins’ longtime friend, Jasmine Phillips, had an idea to help his grandmother using the dancing footage.

“I said to him, ‘Let’s use that video to start a dance challenge called Dance For Deb and start a fundraising page to help her out,’” Phillips said.

Phillips describes Hoskins growing up as “the one to make everyone laugh in class, but he wasn’t the class clown; teachers absolutely adored him as well.”

“If someone was having a bad day, it was nothing for him to walk up to that person in the middle of the hallway and tell them ‘everything is going to be okay,’” she said.

Phillips also noted that he was a “tremendous athlete” who had a successful high school and college football career.

Hoskins has been grateful for the help he has received from Phillips thus far.

“It has been a true blessing working with Jasmine on this campaign,” Hoskins said in an email. “She has really kept me motivated and inspired.”

Hoskins and Phillips encourage other people to participate in the #DanceForDeb campaign by uploading a video of them dancing and posting it to social media using the hashtag. Anyone is also welcome to donate to the campaign’s Crowd Rise page (https://www.crowdrise.com/dancefordeb/fundraiser/). All proceeds will go toward Bounds and her medical bills.

“My grandmother means the world to me,” Hoskins said. “And I will continue to fight for her the way I fight for this great nation. We are truly blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives as a support system during this difficult time, and together we will win this battle against cancer.”