New Orleans Saints superfan Jarrius Robertson will receive the Jimmy V Perseverance Award on Wednesday night during the ESPYs on ABC.
The 15-year-old is battling chronic liver disease called biliary artesia.
When “JJ,” as many people call him, learned he received the award, he was in awe.
“I didn’t know what it was at first,” Jarrius said. “Then my manager explained it to me. He explained it to me and now that feels awesome.”
His father, Jordy Robertson, knows the impact that his son has had.
“As a parent, you finding out about the differences your child is making in the world, not just in the world, but all over the world,” Jordy Robertson said. “It’s a cheerful and a joyful moment.
“We use this as a platform to spread the word of our organization (It Takes Lives to Save Lives) and to help people who are battling the same disease.”
Jarrius has had 13 surgeries in his life, including two liver transplants. After his last liver transplant in late April, Jarrius said he is feeling “great.”
“He’s taking life more joyful,” Jordy Robertson said. “He takes his day more prideful, meaning he enjoys his days. It’s better than pre-transplant because he was on all kind of pain medicines. He had to take all this just to help stay alive. Now that he knows he’s got his liver, he’s doing great. He tends to enjoy life to the fullest. His light shines all over now.”
Jarrius has found inspiration from the Saints and turned it around to inspire the Saints players and others.
“It feels great to know that (the Saints) love me,” Jarrius said, “and they’ll never get rid of me.”
“Having the Saints on our side or having them on our team, they are like family we never had,” Jordy Robertson said. “As a father, I thank them for giving us the platform to spread the word of our organization, to spread the word of JJ fighting for his life, and maybe to help save somebody else’s life.”
Jarrius’ connection to the Saints, along with his inspiring story has led the LaPlace, Louisiana resident to a degree of national fame.
“One time I was in the store and the little kid was just following me to see who I was,” Jarrius said. “Then he saw who I was and he ran back to his mama to get a pen (for an autograph). That’s crazy.”
Saints quarterback Drew Brees has built up a close relationship with Jarrius since they first met in 2015.
“He has come around a lot, and I really feel like he is just as much a part of the team as anybody,” Brees said. “He’s such an inspirational guy. He’s a guy who lights up a room.
“I think that the whole story and the fact that he has become a success story based upon a really tough circumstance inspires a lot of people.”
Jarrius is excited about the opportunity to travel to the ESPYs. When asked about meeting other famous athletes, Jarrius said, “I hope John Cena is there. That would be cool.”