Living a life nothing like a typical 15-year-old, Jarrius Robertson has and is still battling a chronic liver disease called biliary artesia. The New Orleans Saints superfan's courage, bravery and positive spirit has not only helped him survive, but also allowed him to earn the Jimmy V Perseverance Award. "JJ," as many people call him, will receive the award July 12 at the 25th ESPYS on ABC.
On Thursday, June 15, the strong-hearted fan met with a group of New Orleans media to talk about his recent liver transplant, his inspiration on others and his upcoming trip to Los Angeles for the ESPYs. Jarrius said he was in awe when he found out that he received the prestigious award.
"I didn't know what it was at first," Jarrius said. "Then my manager explained it to me, thank you Alex. He explained it to me and now that feels awesome."
Repeatedly using the word "awesome," JJ and his family are realizing the outreach of his success story. 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 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 undergone two liver transplants and 13 surgeries, and was in a coma for a year. He under went his long-awaited liver transplant April 30 and since the surgery he said he is feeling "great."
"He's taking life more joyful," Jordy 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. He described an incident that left him in awe of how popular he has become.
"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 replied: "I hope John Cena is there. That would be cool."
When asked if it is his first time going to Los Angeles, Jarrius said, "Yep. I'm going to Hollywood!"