NEW YORK (AP) — NFL linebacker Ray Lewis is helping a 10-year-old New York boy whose mother drowned herself and three children by driving a van into the Hudson River.
The surviving child, La’Shaun Armstrong, was to attend a Manhattan fundraiser of the United Athletes Foundation on Saturday night. Some of the proceeds will go to him, including scholarship money.
The Baltimore Ravens star says he reached out to the child as soon as he heard about the April 12 tragedy. The boy escaped through a van window after the car plunged into the water in Newburgh, N.Y., and was rescued by a passing driver.
La’Shaun’s 25-year-old mother, Lashanda Armstrong, reportedly was distraught over an argument with her boyfriend.
La’Shaun told the Daily News that meeting the 35-year-old linebacker was “awesome.”
Lewis says the boy needs mentoring from a father figure. His biological father, Todd Johnson, is in prison on a robbery conviction.
As soon as he heard news of the accident, “I was like, ‘I need to find him,'” Lewis told the newspaper at a Manhattan bowling complex earlier this week, when the boy arrived with his grandmother and another relative to meet the NFL player and get some bowling tips from him.
“Nobody is supposed to walk through life alone with that, especially being 10 years old,” said Lewis, who is vice chairman of the United Athletes Foundation.
The nonprofit was created in 2008 by a group of professional athletes whose aim is to improve the lives of athletes and their communities.
The president of the nonprofit, former NFL cornerback Reggie Howard, took La’Shaun shopping for clothes earlier this week.
The foundation plans to help La’Shaun well into the future.
“I don’t want to come into his life for a phase,” Lewis said. “I want to be in his life forever.”