Jarrius Robertson is 14, but doesn’t look a day older than 9 or 10.
Doctors thought he’d never make it past 1 or 2.
Robertson, or Li'l JJ as everybody calls him, was born with biliary atresia, a liver disease that affects his growth.
He had a liver transplant when he was 1 and spent the next year of his young life in a coma.
JJ’s parents, Jordy Robertson and Patricia Hoyal, prepared for the worst.
“We signed all the paperwork to let him go,” Jordy Robertson said. “Throughout the ordeal as we were preparing, he ended up responding back. From that day forward, he’s just been an inspiration to us.”
And not just to his parents, but to everyone he’s around.
The folks in his hometown of Reserve.
His friends and teachers at Lutcher High School, where he’s an eighth-grader.
And this season, in the locker room of his beloved New Orleans Saints.
“That guy is a strong guy,” running back Mark Ingram said. “All the stuff he’s dealing with and for him to have that positive energy and positive outlook on life says a lot about his character. It shows how strong he is as a human being. We all worry about things sometimes that are not important in the grand scheme of things. So when you see somebody like Jarrius who is so positive and so full of energy and is fighting for his life, that’s something we can all learn from.”
JJ’s energy has been on full display over the past 72 hours, a whirlwind three-day span that has seen him rise from a super Saints fan to a media darling.
On Sunday, he sported an Ingram No. 22 jersey as he stood on the sideline at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the Saints game against the Carolina Panthers.
He danced with Ingram.
And he barked out instructions, to both Saints and Panthers.
He ordered Saints defensive end Cam Jordan to make sure to hit Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton at least three times Sunday.
And he reminded Carolina backup quarterback Joe Webb not to dance in his end zone.
On Tuesday, he flew to New York and appeared on Good Morning America alongside hosts Michael Strahan and Robin Roberts. It was then that Sean Payton, via video teleconference, surprised JJ, making him an honorary Saint.
His response before signing his contract — “You don’t have to tell me twice” — made him an instant star.
14-year-old Jarrius Robertson, who may just be the biggest fan in Who Dat Nation, is now off…
He was up to 3,800 Twitter followers as of Wednesday afternoon.
“3,800 in a week? That’s kinda good,” he said.
People are starting to recognize him now. He rolled down the car window on Wednesday as he was making his way on I-10 to the Saints’ practice facility, and folks knew exactly who he was.
“It was crazy,” he said. “I stuck my head out the window and everybody started pointing.”
“Hey, That's Li'l JJ!” some of his new fans screamed.
He spent Wednesday going from interview to interview, fulfilling media requests. He answered questions, then took the time to ask one, holding a microphone to ask Drew Brees a question when it was Brees turn to talk to the media.
“The kid just brings in so much energy, so much personality,” Jordan said. “You can’t help but be enamored by him. He has that personality that just brings you in. For all the stuff that we go through, when you see him, it lets you know that there is so much more going on in this world than just us being 2-3.”
Li'l JJ became a staple around the Saints thanks to punter Thomas Morstead, who met him when he was delivering Christmas gifts to Oschner Hospital last year.
Li'l JJ has pretty much been a part of the team ever since.
He’s a sports fanatic, attending Lutcher games on Fridays and Saints games on Sundays.
His favorite Lutcher player is standout receiver Al’Dontre Davis.
His favorite Saints player?
“I can’t answer that one,” he said. “I’ll never answer that one.”
According to his dad, this bubbly personality isn’t something that just came with his newfound stardom.
“I’ve never seen him down or have a dull moment,” he said.
You’d never guess that Li'l JJ is in need of a new liver. His family is hoping a donor comes soon.
It’s why Jordy Robertson made the slogan “It takes lives to save lives” a battle cry.
“We encourage everybody to go out and become an organ donor because it can help save somebody’s life,” he said. “If I’m going to fight this battle, I’m going to fight it until I can’t breathe anymore. His mother is the same way.”
Li'l JJ, meanwhile, plans to just keep on being an inspiration, even if he can’t quite put his finger on where all that personality comes from.
“I don’t know it just comes,” he said. “I just like the camera.”
Click link to donate to Go Fund Me Account to Help Jarrius Robertson