Eleven-year-old Laila Anderson has been at the heart of the St. Louis Blues team since they met her at a Halloween event at Children’s Hospital. The Blues superfan suffers from a rare immune disease, HLH, and the team’s support for her–and her support for them–has been one of the best storylines of these Stanley Cup Playoffs.
For the Blues Stanley Cup Parade on Saturday, Laila and her family had a car of their own in the procession. She was part of the team onstage at the rally and raised the Cup in front of the tens of thousands of gathered fans who have come to know and love her as much as they do any of the players on the ice.
“I’m just so grateful I get to experience all of this with them,” she said.
When she found out she would get to be part of the parade she said she thought her mom was “pulling a prank.”
Laila Anderson was stunned when she found out she'd been invited to participate in today's parade: "I actually thought my mom was pulling a prank on me." #stlblues pic.twitter.com/D8Q03Exx7f
— FOX Sports Midwest (@FSMidwest) June 15, 2019
Being at Game Seven, and the victory parade, will be nights in her life that she’ll “never forget.”
After her doctors cleared her, she was flown to Boston for Game Seven (where she correctly predicted that Ryan O’Reilly would score the first goal) and was down on the ice for the celebration to raise the Cup with her best friend and favorite player Colton Parayko.
“That was the best night of my life,” she said during the parade to KSDK News.
During the parade, many reporters asked fans and players whether they could have believed earlier in the year that the Blues would go from last in the league to Stanley Cup Champions. Many of them said no.
Laila’s answer? “I never doubted the boys, so I can believe it.”
She was invited onstage at the rally with the team and families, saying, “This is unbelievable. Unreal.”
Robert Bortuzzo brought the Cup over to her so that she could raise it in the air and give it a kiss.
When she was asked if she knew that “30 hockey players, and half a million fans, love you? They think you’re incredible,” all she could say was “thank you.”
Headline photo: Fox Sports Midwest
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