A group of Quebec musicians are holding a free concert on Sunday in support of Aymen Derbali, who survived the deadly attack on a mosque in Quebec City last year.
Derbali was left paralyzed from the waist down after a shooter opened fire at a Quebec City mosque on Jan. 29, 2017. The shooting left six dead and five seriously injured – a number that may have been higher if it weren’t for Derbali. The father of three was shot multiple times while trying to get the gunman’s attention to help others escape.
For violinist Beatrice Madeleine Cadrin, the shooting revealed a different perspective of the city she calls home.
“I was struck by how far away what had happened – this tragedy – was from my vision of the town that I lived in and that I had raised my daughter in, and so I felt compelled to do something and to help Mr. Derbali,” Cadrin told CTV Montreal’s Maya Johnson.
“I wasn’t aware of the consequences that he had to live with from that evening and from his sacrifice that he did for the other people there with him.”
A non-profit group has already raised more than $416,000 in support of Derbali, who is unable to live in the fourth-floor apartment he once shared with his wife and children due to his wheelchair. The funds will be used to help move Derbali from a rehab centre to a new home with his family – one fully adapted to accommodate his wheelchair.
Still, Cadrin wanted to do more. When the violinist put out a call for musicians to join her fundraising efforts, she was overwhelmed by the response. Several freelance musicians, students, pre-professionals, and even CGEP music teachers all replied, eager to volunteer their time.
The event will take place at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Old Quebec, where people are encouraged to make donations. But Cadrin says the concert is about much more than raising money.
“My goal is really to bring these communities together and have a moment where we can meet and talk and share and create something positive,” Cadrin said.
Having the community’s support has been uplifting, Derbali told CTV Montreal’s Maya Johnson.
“We still have the solidarity of the population, and we’re very happy to have this support. It’s a heartwarming day for us.”
Derbali plans to move into his new home by July 1.
With files from CTV Montreal’s Maya Johnson