This is not about Odell Beckham Jr. It is not about Weston Richburg or his father or anyone else associated with the Giants.
This is about the profound affect a 9-year-old boy, who on Monday lost the chance at seeing his 10th birthday, had on Beckham, Richburg and countless other people whose lives he touched in his short time on Earth.
Jayro Ponce, the Texas youngster whom Beckham visited at his hospital bedside 12 days ago, died Monday after a battle with a malignant rhabdoid tumor, a rare form of cancer.
“It’s hard to even fully understand these situations,” Beckham wrote on an Instagram post Tuesday morning. “Crushed, hurt, upset this one cut deep. I had the pleasure of meeting this young man. Truly an amazing person filled with beautiful energy.
“Against all odds u fought lil bro, everyday, day after day. For yourself and for your family. God truly has a plan for everybody and everything. Young Jayro u have taught me more than u could have imagined. To the family I thank u for allowing me to visit wit you guys and be there to support. I’ll be here for life for u guys. I kno Jayro is in a better place and that God now has him. Rest in Peace Jayro.”
This all began with a passionate and rapid series of events that started with Danny Richburg, the father of the Giants’ starting center, reaching out to Beckham via Twitter after he was informed that Jayro’s wish was to meet the Giants star receiver.
Once Beckham, who responded to Danny Richburg’s tweet, agreed to visit, in what became a race against the little time Jayro had to live, Danny and a number of his friends in Texas quickly raised more than $16,000 in less than two days as well as the donated use of a private jet to transport Beckham.
Weston Richburg had visited Jayro in April while he was in Texas and was so moved by the experience he called it “life-changing.’’
“It really had a big impact on me and kind of showed me that people are watching me and I have impact whether I like it or not,’’ Weston said. “It’s a life-changing experience, it really is. I’ll remember that forever. I’m just a center; I’m not a guy like Odell. And yet I still brought [Jayro] happiness and a big smile. So I can only imagine seeing Jayro’s face when Odell walked in the door.’’
Danny Richburg, reached by phone in Texas on Tuesday, knows what Jayro’s reaction to Beckham walking into his hospital room was, because he has remained in contact with Jayro’s family.
“It still makes me tear up right now thinking about it,’’ Danny said. “What went on in that room for an hour or hour-and-a-half only three or four people know about — Odell, Jayro and his family. And I’ve heard, second-hand, that it was beyond spectacular. The way Odell showed compassion, the way he treated Jayro was beyond powerful. It would change the world if more people were like that.
“It impacted Odell, I promise you. He’s a different person because of this event. He’s a better person.’’
Beckham has taken his share of hits for some ill-advised and immature acts, and justifiably so. But no one can question the positive impact he has on so many youngsters, or the charitable things he does with his time the public doesn’t hear about.
“Odell came into this small Texas town and left and nobody knew it,’’ Danny Richburg said. “That is hard to do for someone like Odell Beckham Jr., and he did it without hesitation. The beautiful part of this was that he didn’t want to do that for publicity, and that’s what makes it pure.’’
Weston Richburg said of his more famous teammate: “The fact that Odell took time out of his busy schedule to go to ‘Podunk, Texas,’ says a lot to me about who Odell his and what kind of man he is.’’
Part of what went on in that Texas hospital room on July 21 was Beckham asking Jayro to decide which dance Bechkam should break out when he scores his first touchdown this season.
“That first dance will be for Jayro,’’ Danny Richburg said. “Jayro picked the dance and everybody can wait and watch.’’
Asked if Beckham earmarked that first touchdown and the subsequent dance for the Giants’ Sept. 10 season opener against the Cowboys in Texas, Danny Richburg said, “That’s the plan.’’