Laila Anderson, Blues superfan recovering from rare illness, hoists Stanley Cup
The St. Louis Blues won their first-ever Stanley Cup Wednesday night, and standing right there with them was their good luck charm.
Eleven-year-old Laila Anderson — who suffers from a rare immune disease called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) — is a Blues superfan.
In January, she underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. At the time, the Blues were ranked last in the NHL.
Laila had to remain in isolation because of her treatment, but she recovered in time for Game 3 of the Western Conference final.
WATCH: Laila Anderson, Colton Parayko celebrate together after the Blues win the Stanley Cup
The team flew her out to watch Game 7 of the finals against the Boston Bruins. The Blues won 4-1.
“I had no doubt walking into Boston. I was so confident we were going to win,” she told reporters on the ice after the game.
“We’re so good on the road, and I just felt this was our time and here we are.”
She hoisted and kissed the 15.5-kilogram cup with an assist from defenceman Colton Parayko.
Parayko, who was one of the first to share Laila’s story, said he drew “so much” inspiration from her.
“She’s a warrior,” Parayko said.
“I go visit her at the hospital, and she’s so happy. She might be having the worst day of the week, the things she’s putting into her body, but she’s happy every time I’ve seen her.
“It just goes to show that there’s so much more to life than hockey,” he continued.
“I can’t even put into words what I’ve learned from her.”
The Blues rallied from being last in the league in January to winning the Stanley Cup.
“I just couldn’t be any more proud of any of them,” Laila said. “They’re telling me ‘congratulations,’ but I’m like ‘congratulations to yourself — you did all the work.’
“I don’t know if I’m the lucky charm, but if it just means I have to show up at big games, count me in.”
*with files from the Associated Press
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