Eleven-year-old Laila Anderson was at Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Final in Boston after a viral surprise from the St. Louis Blues. Laila has an extremely rare immune disease, HLH, that only affects 15 other children in the world and has kept her homebound. But on Tuesday, Laila’s mom told her the good news.
“What if I told you the Blues called and they want you at the game?”
“What? How?” Laila responded.
“Doctor said it was okay,” Mom replied.
“No, he didn’t. Mommy, no he didn’t,” the Blues superfan said breaking down into tears. “I’m going to Boston? Oh my god. Oh my god. I love you.”
Laila would ultimately prove to be the Blues’ good luck charm.
— St. Louis Blues 🏆 (@StLouisBlues) June 12, 2019
After the Blues defeated the Bruins 4-1 in Game Seven, Blues players invited Laila onto the ice for the Stanley Cup celebration.
Laila was immediately given a big hug by her closest friend on the team, Colton Parayko. The Blues defenseman was the one who brought her into the St. Louis Blues family.
“This is unreal! How did it feel? You are the best!” Parayko said as Laila began weeping uncontrollably. “Unreal. Thanks for coming. I’m so happy to have you. We’ve got to get a picture with the Stanley Cup, all right?”
Eventually, the championship trophy would make it over to the pair. Parayko held up the Stanley Cup as Laila supported the base with her right hand, weeping softly.
“Give it a kiss,” Parayko said.
Both screamed in excitement.
“I’m just very grateful that he has supported me so much and now it’s my chance to give back to him,” Laila said of Parayko to Sportsnet’s Scott Oake. “I couldn’t thank [the Blues] enough.”
Oake asked Parayko about how much Laila has inspired her.
“Aw, so much. She’s such a warrior,” he said. “I go visit her at the hospital and she’s happy. She’s maybe having the worst day of the week, or just things she’s putting into her body. She’s happy every single time to see her. It just goes to show that there’s so much more to life than hockey… I can’t even put into words what I’ve learned from her and what I can think about her because she really is so special.”
Earlier in the series, Laila went viral again after interviewing Parayko after the Blues’ Game Four win.
“She’s a fighter, and she’s going to continue to fight. She’s our inspiration – we look up to her, what she has to go through every single day,” St. Louis native Patrick Maroon said to Benjamin Hochman of STLToday.com. “To get on that plane, we know the doctors questioned getting her on there because of her health. To say that she gets to come and travel out here and see us play – I’m so happy for her. What she has to go through every single day is a lot tougher than what we have to do.”
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