THIBODAUX, La. — Before his mother died in his junior year of high school, NFL player Trovon Reed remembered her commitment to ensuring he never went without.

With a father who had drifted in and out of his life since birth, his mom was on her own. She fought for everything.

The Thibodaux High School graduate said watching his mother constantly work to keep food on the table, pay the bills and eventually fight for her life against cancer taught him to have that same spirit.

“She would say, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to win, I just know I’m not going to lose,’” said Reed.

He repeated that same mantra to himself throughout his life, from working to earn his full ride to Auburn University to fighting to earn a spot on different professional squads over the years.

“She passed the torch to me,” he said.

Through it all, he’s never forgotten the tireless effort of his own mother. So Reed’s working toward making a certified nonprofit dedicated helping single mothers in the Thibodaux area.

While Reed started the Trovon Reed Foundation a couple years ago, he’s now filing the paperwork to make it legally authorized. Last year, he raised money with a celebrity basketball tournament, using his years in the NFL to call on fellow professional players to attend and support the cause.

Growing up, Reed was the youngest of nine. Most of his eight siblings were out of the house by the time he came along when his mother was 40.

When she became pregnant, the doctors warned her that keeping that child could be fatal for her, but she chose to press on with the pregnancy anyway. Somehow, both Reed and his mother survived, and the bond between them was sealed.

“She was really ready to give her life up for me,” he said.

For as long as he could remember, she had at least two jobs, working at the two local seafood outlets. To this day, he’s not a huge fan of seafood as it was his mother’s go-to for dinner.

“My mom struggled, but she didn’t show me. I just knew she was struggling,” he said.

When his teammates showed off their new Jordans, somehow his mother would find a way to give him a pair.

“Every time, she found a way to overcome it,” he said.

For Reed, everything he does is to honor his mother. He wears her colors, has her photo hanging from a chain in his Jeep and dedicated his tattoo on is back to her memory. In this community, he said he will always be “Bae Bae’s son” - his mom’s nickname.

“She’s the real legend,” he said.

Single mothers are abundant in Thibodaux, and when Reed looks at them, he sees his own mother.

Typically, single mothers don’t have the resources or the support system to work themselves out of their situation and become financially stable, especially the teenage moms.

“It hurts me when I see that because they didn’t ask for that baby. They didn’t ask to be in that position,” he said. “And no one is trying to help them climb out of that hole.”

Reed wants to be the person who shows struggling mothers that they aren’t alone and have someone they can rely on. He wants to give them the gift of breathing room whether its by paying half of their month’s rent, dropping off free food or other kinds of assistance.

“Sometimes it just takes someone to love you,” he said.

To Reed, helping women is for the betterment of the world because they take all the love they’re given and pass it forward.

“It’s hard man, it’s hard for women,” he said. “I support them.”

Reed’s used his life experiences to help kids in the community who approach him with their own family issues, whether that’s losing a family member or being raised without a father.

Once his nonprofit becomes official, it can ramp up efforts to seek out donations to give back to the community.

He is putting on his second celebrity basketball tournament at Thibodaux High School on June 29.

Staff Writer Halle Parker can be reached at hparker@houmatoday.com or 857-2204. Follow her on Twitter, @_thehalparker.