Mean Girls's Jonathan Bennett: I'm Doing Dancing with the Stars in Memory of My Parents
09/15/2014 AT 07:40 PM EDT
"I’m doing every performance for both my parents because I know how much they would love to see me on this," the Mean Girls heartthrob told his hometown newspaper The Blade of being inspired to join the season 19 cast of the ABC reality competition after losing his mother in 2012 and his father in April.
"I just lost my father to brain cancer not but three months ago and this was his favorite show on television," said Bennett. "And when he was sick in hospice, the only show he wanted to watch was Dancing with the Stars because he said this show made him feel good."
Although they can't physically be there to cheer him on as he tackles his first night of competition with his newlywed dance pro partner Allison Holker, Bennett is making sure his parents are with him in spirit.
"Trailer is ready to go! Show day one!" he Instagrammed Monday, along with a photo of his dressing room counter adorned with photos of his parents, his dance shoes and a copy of Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence - Devotions for Every Day of the Year by Sarah Young. "Mom and Dad with me all the way!"