NEW YORK — NFL linebacker Ray Lewis and former cornerback Reggie Howard are 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, attended a Manhattan fundraiser Saturday night for the United Athletes Foundation, which is supported by the Baltimore Ravens star. Some of the proceeds will go to create a relief fund to provide him with mentoring, counseling and tutoring.
Lewis 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 said meeting Lewis earlier this week was "awesome," according to Howard.
The 35-year-old linebacker went bowling with La'Shaun, saying the boy needs mentoring from a father figure. His biological father, Todd Johnson, is in prison on a robbery conviction.
Lewis is vice chairman of the United Athletes Foundation, which was created in 2008 by a group of professional athletes aiming to improve the lives of other athletes and their communities.
The president of the nonprofit is Howard, who took La'Shaun shopping for a new suit earlier this week.
"I hopped into a cab in Manhattan to his house (in Middletown, N.Y.) — and I had no idea it was more than 60 miles away!" Howard said as he prepared to host Saturday's event at Manhattan's Grand Hyatt hotel.
La'Shaun and his grandmother, Datrice Armstrong, who is raising him now, were the foundation's guests for the weekend, sleeping at the Grand Hyatt.
Besides a check presented to La'Shaun on Saturday — for an undisclosed amount — the foundation plans to help him well into the future, Howard said.