Four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal is no stranger to giving back to those in need, this time, he’s donating a home to the family of a 12-year-old Atlanta boy, who was paralyzed by a gunshot wound in August.
12-year-old Isaiah Payton was leaving a high school football game on August 17 when a stray bullet struck his spine, along with a 15-year-old boy, who was hit in the leg.
Payton’s injuries left him paralyzed from his chest down, and as a result, he’d been recovering in the hospital. Once he was finally able to leave, the hospital refused to release him because his family’s current home was not accessible for someone with disabilities.
Payton’s mother, Allison Woods, said she quit her job to take care of her son, and she was looking for a handicap accessible home.
After learning that Payton couldn’t be released from the hospital, the NBA star stepped up to help. “I was watching the story, and it’s just sad. It could have been any one of us. It could have been my son,” O’Neal told Shaq houses family wxia.
He continued, “She was living in a one-bedroom house with her two boys, so we found her a one-bedroom house in College Park. Nice area. I’m going to get her some ring cameras on me. We’re going to give her some furniture, TVs and pay her rent off for a year and help her get on her feet.”
Several other organizations have also reportedly stepped up to help Shaq in his mission to support the family. Rob Lynch, Papa John’s CEO, and Jeff Smith, the company’s chairman of the board, is also providing donations along with the City of Atlanta Fire Department, who is reportedly putting together a budget for Wood’s family. Atlanta’s mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, is also reportedly working to help support the family.
Atlanta police arrested a 15-year-old boy Wednesday in connection with the shooting. He is being charged with aggravated assault.