Hudson Van Tragedy Survivor Forges New Bonds - NBC New York

Hudson Van Tragedy Survivor Forges New Bonds

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    Hudson Van Tragedy Survivor Forges New Bonds

    The 10-year-old boy who escaped his mother's minivan when she drove it into the Hudson, killing herself and three of her kids, is making new family bonds with some famous supporters.

    Ray Lewis, a Baltimore Ravens linebacker, told NBC News that La'Shaun Armstrong's story touched him from afar, and compelled him to track down the young boy and offer him mentorship and emotional support.

    They formed an instant bond.

    "I just grabbed him and hugged him," said Lewis. "And I looked at him and told him, 'I'm here for you, man. I can't replace what you've lost, but I can tell you that I'm here to go forward with you.'"

    Watch their heartwarming story here:

     

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    "When I first met Ray Lewis, I was shocked -- it was, like, so cool," said Armstrong. "He's like a brother to me, like an older brother to me. He says that he misses me and that I'm like family to him."

    Armstrong's new family extends beyond Lewis. Reggie Howard, retired Carolina Panthers cornerback, has also pitched in to provide financial support for Armstrong's counseling, tutoring and a college fund.

    "We brought him in and made him a part of our family," said Howard. "And one of the things we told him -- we got him. We got him for life."

    The Ray Lewis Foundation is among the organizations helping the boy.

    Despite the emotional and financial outreach, the boy's grandparents -- who share custody -- said he still struggles with his new reality. They said he was a caring brother who misses his mom and three younger siblings.

    "A couple times I catch him in his moments," said Larry Edge, Armstrong's grandfather. "But you know, he gets out of it."

    With a large and loving family, Armstrong is not going through his struggles alone.

    "He just says, 'God, thank you for looking out for my family in heaven,'" said Datrice Armstrong, La'Shaun's grandmother.

    And with all the love and support from his grandparents and new mentors, Armstrong's options for the future are wide open.

    "I don't really know what I want to be when I grow up," he said. "First I have to finish college,  though."