New Orleans – Tom and Gayle Benson and the New Orleans Saints have committed a gift of $25,000 to Jarrius Robertson to assist the 15-year old with expenses associated with his continuing medical care. Robertson, an ardent fan of the Saints, whose support of the team has been well-chronicled while fighting the chronic liver disease biliary atresia is scheduled to receive the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPY Awards tonight in Los Angeles. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will match the Bensons' contribution.
"Jarrius has served as an inspiration for Gayle and I and our entire organization since he first came into contact with us in 2015 at Ochsner Hospital for Children," said Mr. Benson. "In his fight against this serious liver disease, he has shown great resiliency and optimism, supporting our team much more than we could ever support him. In addition to assisting Jarrius and his family with some of their expenses, we also would like to bring attention to the importance of organ donation, an important cause which Jarrius has been steadfast in promoting."
Robertson was first diagnosed with biliary atresia, a chronic liver disease shortly after birth. At just one-year old, he received his first liver transplant. Following the transplant, he continued to experience complications as a youth and was in need of a second transplant. In 2015, Robertson first interacted with members of the Saints organization during a holiday player visit at Ochsner Hospital for Children. Robertson has continued to be an integral supporter of the Saints as a constant presence at the team's facility for practices and team events, as well as games. Robertson has used his growing notoriety to encourage organ donation through various forms of promotion.
On April 30, 2017, Robertson received the long-awaited liver he hoped for via a transplant performed by the Ochsner Multi-Organ Transplant Institute surgeons at Ochsner Hospital for Children – the only accredited pediatric liver transplant program in Louisiana. Showing his perseverance and courage, Robertson returned to the practice facility and attended a Saints OTA workout less than a month after his transplant, as he continues to emphasize the importance of organ donation.
For those interested in making a donation to Jarrius to help defray the cost of his medical expenses, please visit here.