HERMOSA BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Scores of fundraisers have sprung up in the aftermath of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn.
But one started more than 3,000 miles away is a little more personal.
Ryan Kraft of Hermosa Beach — a former student at Sandy Hook Elementary — was also Adam Lanza’s former babysitter.
When Kraft first heard about the shooting and that Lanza was involved he said, “I just couldn’t think for a little while. I was shaken.”
He told CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Brittney Hopper that, rather than feeling helpless, he decided to start a fundraiser to help the children of Newtown, especially the ones who will be dealing with post traumatic stress disorder.
Kraft — who moved to the Southland after college — also wants the money to go to helping families pay funeral expenses and for helping establish a scholarship fund for survivors.
Kraft said Nancy Lanza told him never to turn his back on the boy –“to keep an eye on him at all times…to never turn my back, not even to go to the bathroom.”
The Hermosa Beach man moved to Newtown, Conn. with his family when he was about 10 years old. The Lanza family moved next door about six months later.
When Kraft was around 14 or 15, he was asked to babysit Adam who was about nine at the time.
He remembers Adam as quiet and introverted. “Whenever we were doing anything, like building Legos, or playing video games, he was always focused. He was in his own world.”
Kraft is still having trouble believing the kid he babysat could have been involved in such unspeakable horror. “I’m still numb to it, I haven’t processed it … and 15 years ago it could have been me.”
Thus far, Kraft’s fundraising page has made more than $53,000 in just one day.
For a link to Ryan Kraft’s fundraising page, click here.