Erica Day said she knows it sounds weird to say her family is blessed barely a week after her sister was killed and her nephew injured in a knife attack at a Swansea apartment, but she said “it could be worse.”
“We could be mourning two,” she said Friday.
Sharetta Day, 38, was killed when her ex-boyfriend allegedly stabbed her several times Aug. 29. Her son, Nicolas Day, also was stabbed but survived the attack and is recovering. Alvin Harris Jr., 38, of East St. Louis is charged in Sharetta Day’s murder.
Erica Day is taking over guardianship of Nicolas. She said “Physically Nicolas is doing great. We’re just trying to keep his mind right. He has his good days and his bad days.”
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In the midst of the tragedy, there is light. Erica Day said she’s received calls from people she doesn’t know expressing their love and support and has taken visits from High Mount School administrators, Swansea Mayor Ken Mueller, police, family and friends. All of the love, she said, is overwhelming.
“I am overwhelmed. I can’t believe the outpouring,” she said. “They have been so great. The mayor, the detectives, the football team—people just keep coming. Blame it on God.”
The football team she refers to is the Little Knights Football CLub 9U team of which Nicolas is a member. And on Wednesday, the team is joining the Dairy Queen at 1776 Lebanon Ave. in Belleville for a fundraiser that will benefit a trust fund set up for him. A portion of the profits generated Wednesday between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. will go to the fund.
“He’s a great kid,” Nicolas’ football coach, Rick Buelhorn, said. “He’s all of about 65, 70 pounds. He’s little but he’s very mighty. I really like him. He loves football.”
Buelhorn said Nicolas, who won’t quite be ready to get back on the field to play, will nonetheless wear his jersey and lead his team onto the field before their first game Sunday. Erica Day said once he’s through with that, he’ll do the same at the Edward Jones Dome ahead of the St. Louis Rams’ season opener against the Seattle Seahawks.
“Just saying I’m thankful is not enough,” Erica Day said. “This really restores my faith in humanity.”
But there’s one group in particular in which she said her faith has been restored—the police.
“It really restores my faith in the police. I knew there were good cops, but these (Swansea) cops set an example,” she said.
Buelhorn said Nicolas has been itching to get back on the gridiron and said he expects to have him back in playing condition in the coming weeks. Erica Day said Nicolas will be ready for school much sooner than that: He’ll be back in class at High Mount when strudents return from the Labor Day break Wednesday.
Anyone who wants to contribute to the Nicolas Day Trust Fund can do so at the FCB Bank at 2610 N. Illinois St. in Swansea.