Shaquille O’Neal has found a new home for Allison Woods, the mother of Isaiah Payton, who was shot and paralyzed leaving a high school football game in Atlanta.
According to ESPN, O’Neal learned that Payton would not be released from the hospital because the apartment he, his mother, and brother lived in was not handicap accessible.
The story touched O’Neal deeply and he decided to help the family relocate.
“I reached out to the family because I wanted to see the son and they said he’s not going to release the son until she’s able to move to the first floor,” O’Neal said.” So, we found her a house. I’m going to pay her rent for the year and I’m going to give her some furniture and it’s sad because her son is paralyzed from the chest down and no mother should have to go to that.”
Shaq is one of the hosts of TNT’s studio show, Inside the NBA, which broadcasts from Atlanta during the NBA season. He is an advocate for children’s safety and does a lot of work that goes unnoticed in underserved communities.
Payton and his friend, Damean Spear, were leaving a high school football game between Mays and Carver High Schools when gunshots were fired. A stray bullet struck Payton in the spine and he is now paralyzed from the chest down. He will require long-term disability care as a result of his injuries. Care which has forced his mother, Woods, to quit her job.
“I was watching the story and it’s just sad. It could have been any one of us. It could have been my son. It could’ve been your cousin and 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,” O’Neal said.
Shaq isn’t the only person helping Payton’s family. Rob Lynch, the CEO of Papa John’s and Jeff Smith, the chairman of the board of Papa John’s have contributed, and the City of Atlanta Fire Department is providing Woods a budget for the year and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is also supporting as well.
(Photo: Jim Spellman/WireImage)