ST. LOUIS - Will Bartold hasn’t had much to smile about these days.
Since being diagnosed with osteosarcoma - a type of bone cancer that primarily occurs in children - the 10-year-old has spent more time at St. Louis Children’s Hospital than he has at home.
Tuesday was no different.
For about 15 minutes, though, Will forgot about his upcoming surgery in August and instead enjoyed a visit from Louie, who brought plenty of gifts to help cheer him up.
“There are no words,” said his mother, Sheri Bartold, when asked about seeing her son smile for the first time all day. “His favorite things in the entire world are hockey and the St. Louis Blues. He can tell you any stat about previous, current, and future players - he can tell you anything about the Blues."
Sheri wasn’t kidding - within minutes of Louie’s appearance, Will began debating which player should be named the Blues' next captain. His vote goes to either defenseman Alex Pietrangelo or forward Alexander Steen.
“This visit was exactly what he needed,” Sheri added. “Anything that makes him smile makes me happy.”
During Louie’s visit, Will was showered with gifts, including a puck autographed by Vladimir Tarasenko, a Blues backpack, hat and a Louie bobblehead toothbrush holder.
“I’m set for life!” Will exclaimed.
OK, Will - let's not go that far. But a surprise visit from everyone's favorite bear never hurt anybody.