Countless Americans heard about La'Shaun Armstrong, the 10-year-old boy orphaned April 12 when his mother drove herself and her four children into the Hudson River.
Countless Americans wanted to do something for the boy, who escaped through a window only to learn his mother and three half-siblings were dead.
All-Pro Baltimore Raven Ray Lewis was one of the very few able and willing to act.
"We are human and to hear that story, as soon as I heard it, I was like, 'I need to find him.'" Lewis told the New York Daily News. "Nobody is supposed to walk through life alone with that, especially being 10 years old."
The legendary linebacker took Armstrong bowling last week, which the boy described as "awesome," and former NFL cornerback Reggie Howard took the Middletown, N.Y. child to buy a suit.
But the help didn't stop there.
While the NFL held its draft only blocks away, Lewis and Howard invited Armstrong and his grandmother to a fundraiser for the United Athletes Foundation, an organization started three years ago to assist athletes and their communities. Armstrong and his grandmother, who is raising him with his father in prison, were put up at the Grand Hyatt and invited to the event by Howard, the foundation's president. The child was given a check and the promise of more help in the future.
Draft weekend always brings optimism and opportunity, but no one needs those things more than La'Shaun Armstrong. And thanks to one of the NFL Draft's all-time success stories, a boy's long and challenging road to adulthood can begin with a sliver of hope.
"I don't want to come into his life for a phase," Lewis told the Daily News. "I want to be in his life forever."
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