(INSIDE EDITION) A police officer raised more than $50,000 for a Los Angeles family down on its luck after hearing about their troubles while he was on duty early one morning.
Officer Ken Lew of the Los Angeles Police Department was patroling an unfamiliar neighborhood at 4 a.m. when he noticed a parked car.
Lew decided to investigate and saw 17-year-old Ariel Carmona weeping inside the vehicle.
“I asked him if he was okay and he told me his mother has stage 4 cancer,” Lew told InsideEdition.com. “I thought he was lying but no one makes up a story that quick."
Ariel then told the officer that because of tight finances, he does not live with other members of his family and their mother, Marcela Carmona, is currently living in hospice care.
After her diagnosis, Marcela was unable to work and pay the rent. Shortly after she moved to a hospice facility, Ariel and his younger sister, Yairad, were evicted from their home. Yairad went to live with another family, while Ariel moved in with a friend in Englewood, Lew told InsideEdition.com.
As a full-time college student, Ariel said his mother's medical bills were quickly taking a toll.
“I knew there was a reason I met Ariel,” Lew said after hearing the boy's story. “I told him I was going to take care of him and his family. I didn’t know how but I was determined to help.”
Officer Lew then set up a GoFundMe page, where he rapidly raised over $50,000 for Ariel and his family.
“I lost my father to cancer so I know how they must feel,” said Lew. “Once their mom is no longer around, I will do my best to take care of them.”
Lew is currently in the process of buying the family a new home and considers himself a father figure to Ariel and Yairad.
Inspired by the success of the crowdfunding campaign, Lew said he was then inspired to create a non-profit organization, Badge of Heart, in order to help families in need and victims of abuse with food, clothing, and support.
“We know we can’t save the world,” Lew said. “We just want to save families and their kids.”