Baltimore Ravens Pro-Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis and former NFL cornerback Reggie Howard are leading the humanitarian and emotional assistance to a 10-year-old New York boy who was the lone survivor after his mother drove a van carrying him, his brothers and his sister, into the Hudson River on April 12.
On April 30, Lewis and Howard each pledged $10,000 to a relief fund at a Manhattan fund-raiser that will provide La’Shaun Armstrong with counseling and tutoring sponsored by the United Athletes Foundation.
“This is a hard situation and he is forever changed,” Lewis told The New York Post. “We are not going to let him do it alone. We are going to be here for him forever.”
Armstrong’s mother, Lashanda, drowned, along with three of her other children. Authorities believe the woman drove the vehicle into the river following an argument with her boyfriend.
La’Shaun Armstrong survived by climbing out of a window and was rescued by a passing driver.
Lewis told reporters that he reached out to the boy as soon as heard about the tragedy. He says Armstrong needed a strong male influence in his life because his biological father, Todd Johnson, is in prison.
Armstrong’s family agreed that the 10-year-old needs help. Armstrong’s uncle, Tymare Armstrong, said the youngster often has trouble sleeping.
“Day by day he starts realizing what happened,” Tymare Armstrong told The New York Daily News. “There are some nights he stays up with the light on.”
La’Shaun Armstrong admitted that he was struggling with the tragedy, but thanked the UAF for helping him and his family. The boy now lives with his grandmother.
“I’d like to thank the UAF for fund-raising this money for my family and I'd like to thank Ray and Reggie for being there for me and taking care of me when I need help,” the boy said during the event, according to the Post.?
The fundraiser was a part UAF’s charity weekend co-hosted by Lewis and actress Vivica Fox. The weekend included a father and son bowling tournament, a pro athlete summit on financial reform, and health screenings.
Lewis is no stranger to community service; his Ray Lewis Foundation serves underprivileged and disadvantaged youth in Baltimore. Since the foundation’s creation, it has been able to provide Thanksgiving dinner to over 5,000 families and, this winter, provided coats, gloves, hats and blankets to 300 children and seniors in Baltimore City.