Weston Richburg said he was not surprised his teammate, Odell Beckham Jr., flew across the country to visit a youngster battling cancer, but the selfless, good-will gesture resonated with the Giants center.
“I was just tickled that Odell went and did that for him,’’ Richburg said Thursday morning as the Giants reported to training camp. “That was a big deal.
“I don’t think it surprised me but it was really touching to see that he was willing to take time out of his schedule. It all happened in one day, too. He flew pretty far across the country in one day to make that happen for Jayro.’’
Jayro Ponce is a nine-year old from Amarillo, Texas inflicted with Malignant Rhabdoid Tumor, a rare and severe childhood tumor that often starts in the kidneys and can also occur in the brain.
Richburg, who is from Bushland, Texas, heard of Jayro’s plight and that Jayro was a big fan of the Giants. Richburg visited Jayro and his family back in April.
“Just the fact a kid who’s gone through more than I’ve ever gone through in my 26 years, he’s not even 10 years old, that just really touches me that somebody wants me to be a part of their life,’’ Richburg said.
“The fact he wants anything to do with me when he’s going through that, that shows you people are always watching and you have an impact whether you like it or not. Times like training camp, if you think it’s tough, you can really reflect on Jayro and what he goes through and take motivation from that.’’
On July 18, Richburg’s father, Danny, reached out to Beckham on Twitter, asking if the star receiver might be able to visit Jayro. Beckham responded on Twitter: “How could I make it happen?’’
A plan was quickly put into action, with help from the Make-A-Wish foundation. Weston Richburg said “some people provided the means of transportation” and money was raised to purchase jet fuel. On July 22, Ponce got to meet his football idol, as Beckham Jr. arrived at his bedside.
“Just the fact that Odell took time out of his schedule, which I’m sure is busier than any of us can imagine, to go see Jayro was really cool to see that,’’ Weston Richburg said. “It speaks volumes to the kind of person Odell is and the kind of player Odell is.’’
On the Team Jayro Facebook page, photos of Beckham’s visit were shared, along with this message: “We were blessed to spend time with this amazing soul and his friend!’’
The Giants open their season Sept. 10 in Dallas, but Richburg said he does not believe Jayro will be strong enough to attend that game.
“It’s not looking too good right now,’’ Richburg said. “My prayers are with him. I would encourage everyone to pray for him and keep your thoughts on him and his family. The situation is not too good right now for Jayro.’’