49ers fan who showed up at Seahawks parade shares his story

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by HEATHER GRAF / KING 5 News

KREM.com

Posted on February 11, 2014 at 9:15 AM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 11 at 9:32 AM

He showed up at a Seahawks victory parade, dressed from head to toe in 49ers gear, and since then, fans from both teams have come together to help him.  Now, we're hearing from Ronnie Andrews for the first time.

The 15-year-old says he's been a 49ers fan since he was little, despite growing up in the Seattle area.  He went to the parade to support his team, and expected a little jeering from Seahawks fans.

"They were telling me I should be tasting the rainbow, as a present from Marshawn Lynch," he said, laughing.

What Andrews did not expect was the social media firestorm his outfit caused.  Photos of him at the parade spread quickly over the internet, and so did Ronnie's story.

"For the last four months, I've been on my own, just moving from shelter to shelter," he said.  "Three weeks I spent on the street before that four months started, and that was hard, but I still went to school and still tried."

Since he stays at shelters in Kirkland and goes to Foster High School in Tukwila, that often means waking up at 5 am and riding public transportation for two hours to make it to class.

When a 49er fan heard about how he was living in a shelter, she wanted to help.  What started as an idea to give him a trip to San Francisco and tickets to a game transformed into a cause that both the 12th man and the 49er faithful could support.

"Right now, I feel like this support is one of the best things I've had in my life, because I feel like I have that outside family that I never had before," Ronnie said. 

The gofundme site set up for Ronnie had raised more than $26,000 by Monday evening.  On the page, organizers also tell supporters that once several legal hoops are dealt with, they hope to set up a bank account that he'll be able to access when he turns 18.

Organizers of the fundraiser have also been in touch with Ronnie's teachers, who say he is a good, hard working kid, who has had a tough life.

Ronnie says problems at home and personal family issues ultimately caused him to leave home. 

While he admits, the attention he's received over the last few days has been overwhelming, he says it's also served as a motivator to focus on his schoolwork, stay out of trouble and follow his dreams, which include going to college and one day perhaps playing in the NFL.

"It's just one step closer to making myself better and that's all I'm trying to do, take it one step at a time," he said.  "Knowing that I have all this support now, I feel like my future is a lot brighter than I thought."

KING 5 has also learned that several qualified foster care providers have come forward in the last few days, and said they would welcome Ronnie into their homes.  That's something he'll have to discuss with his social worker, but he says he's so grateful for the kindness.

"I really thank everyone for that," he said.

He also plans to pay it forward, in every way he can.

 

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