11-Year-Old Superfan Laila Anderson Celebrates Stanley Cup Win With The St. Louis Blues Laila Anderson, 11, is a big fan of the St. Louis Blues. The team won its first Stanley Cup Wednesday and flew Anderson, who has a life-threatening autoimmune disease, to see the game in Boston.
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11-Year-Old Superfan Laila Anderson Celebrates Stanley Cup Win With The St. Louis Blues

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11-Year-Old Superfan Laila Anderson Celebrates Stanley Cup Win With The St. Louis Blues

11-Year-Old Superfan Laila Anderson Celebrates Stanley Cup Win With The St. Louis Blues

11-Year-Old Superfan Laila Anderson Celebrates Stanley Cup Win With The St. Louis Blues

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/732480697/732480700" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Laila Anderson, 11, is a big fan of the St. Louis Blues. The team won its first Stanley Cup Wednesday and flew Anderson, who has a life-threatening autoimmune disease, to see the game in Boston.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Eleven-year-old Laila Anderson has an incredibly rare immunodeficiency disease. Because of the disease called HLH, she's had bone marrow transplants and chemotherapy; that has meant some pretty significant hospital stays.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Anderson is also, to put it mildly, a fan of her hometown hockey team, the St. Louis Blues. And during the team's visits to the hospital, Laila got to know many of the players on her favorite team.

KELLY: Her beloved Blues were vying for the Stanley Cup versus the Boston Bruins in Beantown last night. The day before the game, her mother, Heather, posed a question to Laila captured on video.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HEATHER ANDERSON: If you could watch the game anywhere in the world tomorrow - anywhere in the world - where would you watch your boys play Game 7?

H ANDERSON: Boston.

KELLY: Which seemed highly improbable because Laila Anderson has not been able to travel.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

H ANDERSON: What if I told you the Blues called and they want you at the game?

LAILA ANDERSON: What? How?

H ANDERSON: Doctor said it's OK.

L ANDERSON: No, he didn't. Mommy, no he didn't. Oh, my God.

CORNISH: So Laila found herself at the Garden, watching as...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MIKE EMRICK: For the first time in their history, the St. Louis Blues are the Stanley Cup champions.

CORNISH: The Blues beat the Bruins, 4 to 1, to win the title. After the game, Laila was down on the ice talking to National Hockey League TV alongside her favorite players.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

L ANDERSON: I never gave up on these boys. They have done so much for me that they don't know. I couldn't thank them enough for helping me get through my fight.

KELLY: You may know that, traditionally, Stanley Cup winners drink champagne from the trophy. Laila said she hopes to enjoy nachos served from the cup. Team members promised her she will get that snack.

BENJAMIN HOCHMAN: Laila Anderson is an inspiration to everybody in St. Louis and, at this point, maybe everybody in the hockey world.

CORNISH: St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports columnist Benjamin Hochman has gotten to know the girl and met up with her in Boston right before Game 7.

HOCHMAN: So I'm chatting with her, and I say, maybe I'll see you on the ice after the game. And she looks at me and says, you will.

CORNISH: A determined and confident Blues fan, indeed.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAURA BRANIGAN'S "GLORIA")

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