‘JJ Fest’ promoting organ donation coming to Reserve

Published 12:10 am Saturday, June 10, 2017

RESERVE — A little more than a month after undergoing the second liver transplant in his 15 years, Jarrius “J.J.” Robertson is back to enjoying his busy social life.

Over the past few weeks he has visited the Saints practice facility, played video games with former NFL greats and participated in a charity softball game with the Saints — hitting a single.

He even managed to attend a graduation ceremony promoting him to ninth grade at Lutcher High School.

Now that the youngster is well on his way to a full recovery, he and his family are ready to give back to the community that has supported him.

The Robertson family and the It Takes Lives to Save Lives foundation are organizing the first “JJ Fest” blood drive to be held from noon to 6 p.m. July 1 at Regala Park, 194 Regala Park Road in Reserve.

The Ochsner Bloodmobile will be on site to accept donations. All donors must produce a photo ID. Each donor will receive a T-shirt.

The free event also will offer food, arts and crafts booths, games, water slides, live music and special guest appearances.

Former Saints players Earl Campbell, Willie Roaf and Rickey Jackson are scheduled to appear, along with the Saints Superfans of the Big Easy Mafia. A film crew from ESPN is expected to be on hand, as well.

Jordy Robertson, J.J.’s father, said he is trying to rally the people in the River Parishes in support of organ donation.

“We’re just trying to help raise awareness for organ donation in our area,” Robertson said. “We have been the face of organ donation. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

J.J. was born with a chronic liver disease called biliary atresia. He underwent a partial liver transplant when he was 1, then spent a year in a coma.

The condition not only threatened his life, it also stunted his growth to give him the appearance of a young child.

His personality has not diminished, however.

Last year he was adopted by the Saints as their No. 1 fan and quickly became a media sensation.

Last month J.J. received a full liver transplant from an anonymous donor and is quickly recovering.

“He is living life, loving life,” Robertson said.

“He’s been given a second chance at life.”

He also is hoping his new liver will help him grow.

“He’s measuring himself every day,” Robertson said.

The Robertson family will continue its quest to educate the public about the importance of organ donation, with J.J. front and center.

Thursday night will be J.J. Night at the New Orleans Baby Cakes game and he will throw out the first pitch.

For more information on J.J. Fest call 504-662-4770 or 985-233-6364.

For more information on blood donations, visit ochsner.org/giving or call 504-842-3375.