Brian and Jackson’s Exciting Visit

Brian and Jackson’s Exciting Visit


I can’t tell you how excited
I am about this next story. We first met Brian and
Jackson last October, and saw just how powerful a friendship can be. Take a look.>>I met Brian in 2003 at Tulane. At the end of college,
I was heading to Afghanistan. Meanwhile, in the States,
the Saints just won the Super Bowl. Brian made this cardboard cutout of me. He brought it to Mardi Gras. And, I’ve gone through all these pictures,
and I get to the very last one. It’s Drew Brees and my cardboard cutout. It honestly never occurred to
me to try to pay Brian back for what he had done,
because you’re never gonna top it. Although, little did I know
the circumstances that would come about in a couple years that would,
at least, give me a chance to try.>>Hi, my name is Brian, I’m 30 years
old and I was recently paralyzed. Is it weird if I’m
smiling when I say this?>>[LAUGH]
>>I was recently paralyzed.>>In the weeks after Brian’s injury,
I go to the Saints’ last open practice.>>And I see this picture
of Drew Brees with his arm around a cardboard cutout of me. [MUSIC] Yeah, to say it lifted my spirits and
boosted my morale is an understatement. It’s knowing that your friend
is in a real bad spot and then delivering just
the granddaddy of all gifts.>>He is going to redefine
what is possible for a person in his circumstances. I have no doubt about that whatsoever. That’s life daring him to
make something of that, and Brian is not a guy that you want to dare.>>Please welcome Jackson Smith! Hi, Jackson.>>Hi, Ellen.
>>What a story that is.>>Thank you very much.>>That is amazing. You both love Drew Brees, and
you both are amazing friends. And now I have a surprise for both of you. Drew, are you there?>>I’m here, Ellen.>>Hi Drew.
>>[APPLAUSE]>>What you did for me, and what Brian did for me on what realistically was
probably the worst day of my life. I really didn’t know if I was
ever gonna see another day or if the guys around me were
gonna see another day. Somebody out there was thinking about
me when they really didn’t have to. I can never thank you enough for that. Even now, having the opportunity,
I can never thank you enough.>>Let me tell you right now,
you are the true hero, my friend.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Everything that you’ve overcome, you’re an inspiration to me, as well.>>Jackson’s been a hero to me, and
obviously, a hero to many, many others. But, also Drew is a hero
to many others and my self, so everyone here is a hero to me.>>[LAUGH]
>>From my wife, Brittany, and I and Ellen and Shutterfly,
we want to buy this wheelchair for you.>>Yep.
>>[APPLAUSE]>>[APPLAUSE] [MUSIC]>>I’m so glad to check in with you. Tell everybody your incredible update.>>I was doing what we call our standard off-vent exercise.
The respiratory therapist who was looking at the screen said,
you actually just took a breath. You can breathe.>>Wow. Brian, Jackson,
I want you to be sitting right here, whenever y’all are ready,
I can’t wait to see you here.>>We wouldn’t miss it for the world. Thank you so much.>>Love you, bye bye.>>Making his first trip away from home,
please welcome Brian and his friend, Jackson. The last time we spoke
you were in the hospital. You were on a ventilator. As we saw, you were able to
get off of it a little bit but it looks like you’re
completely off the ventilator.>>Yep,
I actually haven’t seen it in two months.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Wow, congratulations.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Thank you, yeah,>>[APPLAUSE]>>What was the trip like getting here? How was that?
>>It was awesome. I mean I’ve been living in hospitals for
ten months. But yeah, roadtripping across the desert
was I was finally out in the world again, for first time, it was amazing.>>Yeah, amazing. So much has happened,
you’re now Tulane, and you’re working on your law degree right?>>Yes, I am. I just finished my first year, so
I’m still waiting on my grades. If you could make a phone call,
that would be great. We’ll see how those turn out.>>That’s fantastic. And you were working at Goldman Sachs
before this happened and you got a call from them and?>>They basically have just
been patiently waiting. I spoke to my boss just last week and
they wanted to know what I was capable of, what I wasn’t,
how much time a day, a week I had? They’re just gonna build the position
around what I can do there.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Awesome, awesome.>>Yeah.
Yeah.>>That’s fantastic. So tell everybody who went to
go visit you in the hospital.>>I got a surprise visit
one day from someone. I don’t know if you’ve met him. His name is Drew Brees.>>Drew Brees?
>>Yes.>>So he just surprised you. He just dropped in?>>Yeah.
We got a call one morning from Brittany, his wife, and she was like,
we thought we were going out to Sundance, we thought maybe we’d stop by. Does Brian have any time in his schedule?>>[LAUGH]
>>I’m pretty sure if he has open heart surgery today,
we’ll reschedule it.>>[LAUGH]
>>He’s got time in his schedule, swing by whenever you want.>>He’s a great guy. And since you like surprises, surprise! Drew, come on out. [MUSIC]>>[APPLAUSE]
>>[APPLAUSE] [MUSIC]>>[APPLAUSE]>>Hey, Drew.>>How’s it going?>>Good. How’s it going with you?>>Good.
>>You’re in practice and stuff?>>Yes.
We start our off-season practices next week, and we’re gearing up for a few
of our charity events in New Orleans June 4th, and then one in Austin,
Texas June 12th. We’re busy raising four kids. My wife’s raising four kids
right now while I’m practicing, but we’re doing great.>>Thanks for being here and thanks for being such an important
part of this story. It’s so cool that this is New Orleans,
which obviously, we both care a lot about, and
this story just connects us in such, it’s amazing the part you
played in their lives.>>Honestly, I’ve been so
inspired by their journey and really their friendship and
to be intertwined the way that we have just throughout
that journey has really been incredible.>>Yeah, and the family is, we have the
Drew Brees and Brittany Brees seats and then we have Brian and Jackson seats and
your family is sitting in the seats. So, it’s really,
it’s a surprise for everybody. Nobody knew you were coming. There’s been fundraisers I know
because this is very expensive, the wheelchair we helped you with but
it’s just a lot of bills. How have you raised money and
how much have you raised?>>I set up a GoFundMe page,
which initially we were just hoping to get a little bit here and
there, but a lot of people around the country
have actually stepped up.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Yeah. [APPLAUSE]
>>[INAUDIBLE] Just shy of 200k. It is an amazing amount of money and
it’s just crazy how fast it disappears.>>That’s awesome and
we have been telling people and will continue because like you said,
it does disappear fast. You need money constantly
coming in to help you. Anybody who wants to go to our website,
or go to his GoFundMe page. But all season long,
we’ve been partnering with Shutterfly. They helped you get the wheelchair and
they wanna do another thing. They’re gonna give you a check for
$20,000.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Ellen, can I say something really fast here? We are, Brittany and I would actually
like to match this contribution, as well.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>[APPLAUSE] Thank you.>>Go to our website to
help out if you can.

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