Jarrius Robertson needs no introduction—he’s quite possibly one of the most charming teenagers you will ever be fortunate enough to meet.
Also an internet sensation, the Reserve, LA teen spent Tuesday Oct. 18 on the set of ABC’s Good Morning America (GMA) with Robin Roberts.
Barely into the four minute segment, New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton, quarterback Drew Brees and defensive end Cam Jordan appeared on a big screen from their training facility in Metairie to surprise the Ochsner Hospital for Children patient and Saints superfan.
“As a coach, you love it when you see someone with his energy. He is on everyone’s butt, trust me,” Payton told Roberts. “So we’re going to sign Jarrius today to a contract to become a New Orleans Saint. Today, right there in New York.”
In Jarrius fashion, he eagerly accepted, grabbing a pen to sign his contract printed on official Saints letterhead to become an honorary team member.
“You don’t have to tell me twice,” Jarrius shouted.
For his first assignment, Payton let Jarrius know he and his father would be joining the Saints this weekend in Kansas City where the teen will be the team’s social media correspondent.
A little About Jarrius
About a year ago, “The Mayor” as he’s affectionately known around the halls of Ochsner Hospital for Children, received a visit from several players from his beloved Saints—a visit he had been ready for his entire life.
It was at that moment when Jarrius stole the show. Forget the fact he was in the company of professional athletes he literally looked-up to. It was he who became the one surrounded by TV cameras; even the players became fascinated by the larger-than-life teen.
His magnetic spirit and knowledge of the game and players he loves, captured on camera, quickly went viral and was seen by more than 200,000 people in a matter of days. Shortly after the December 2015 visit, he soon found himself tossing the football around with Super Bowl Champion Quarterback Drew Brees—even tackling Brees on the practice field (Drew wasn’t injured, thankfully).
Brees told Roberts, “We love having Jarrius out here. He’s such an inspirational young man,” Brees added. “His strength, his attitude, and he’s welcome out here anytime. We love him.”
What a lot of people didn’t know at the time is that Jarrius suffers from Biliary Atresia, a chronic liver disease he was diagnosed with at a very early age. It’s a condition where the bile ducts don’t form correctly during fetal development, causing his liver to malfunction. It also stunts a child’s growth explaining why the now 14-year-old stands just above waist high to an average adult male.
His father, Jordy Robertson, has said, “I swear he has the heart of a 30-year-old man inside the body of a 13-year-old boy.”(December 2015 interview).
Before his exit on GMA, Jarrius was sure to tell everyone just how important it is to become a donor to help people like him.
“It takes lives to save lives,” Jarrius said. “That means if people go out and donate anything like blood, organ, kidneys or liver, then they can save somebody else’s life.”
With more than 17,000 patients nationwide on the liver waiting list, only 6,000 transplants are performed each year, leaving children at a disadvantage due to the shortage of small pediatric donors. One organ donor has the potential to save up to nine lives. They might also be able to restore sight to two people through tissue donation. If they are able to donate tissue, they might also be able to improve the lives of another 50 – 75 people.
If you would like to become a donor, you can register at www.ochsner.org/savenine.