New Orleans Saints superfan Jarrius “JJ” Robertson has been in and out of hospitals his whole life, battling a chronic liver disease called biliary atresia. Despite his health issues, the 15-year-old’s wit, energy and effervescent attitude made a lasting impression on Saints players – including Drew Brees, Mark Ingram and Cameron Jordan – who met him during a 2015 visit to the Ochsner Hospital for Children.
Because of his determination and continued positive attitude, Robertson will be honored with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at The 25th ESPYS, an award inspired by the late Jim Valvano who, while battling cancer, gave an emotional acceptance speech at the 1993 ESPYS that included his famous words “Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up!”
Robertson, who has undergone two liver transplants and 13 surgeries in 15 years, is a true example of perseverance. His health battles haven’t stopped him from being the Saints’ biggest cheerleader – he’s become a fixture at home and away games and has also joined the team for practices.
When Brees, Ingram and Jordan found out that Robertson would be honored, they took time out to record the video messages to the young fan, who has inspired the team just as much as the team has inspired him. See their video below.
In 2016, ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown contributor Annie Apple and producer Gavin Cote profiled Robertson.
The 25th ESPYS will air live on Wednesday, July 12, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. The Jimmy V Perseverance Award is sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb.