BOSTON -- Laila Anderson did more than cheer on her favorite team to its Stanley Cup victory on Wednesday. She got to celebrate with the St. Louis Blues as well.
Anderson, the 11-year-old superfan of the Blues who has hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, a severe systemic inflammatory syndrome that can be fatal, was on the TD Garden ice hoisting and kissing the Cup following St. Louis' 4-1 win against the Boston Bruins in Game 7.
"I know these boys have waited so long to kiss that and I'm 11," said Anderson, wearing a denim jacket with "Laila" and No. 55 on the back. "And I get to share that moment with them. It means so much to me."
The No. 55 belongs to Blues defenseman Colton Parayko, who Anderson calls "my best friend."
It was Parayko who spotted her on the ice Wednesday, gave her an emotional hug and took her to the Cup.
"She's special to myself and the team, just the things that she does are incredible, everything she does is special," said Parayko, who on Stanley Cup Final Media Day revealed he was wearing a wristband Anderson had made for him. "No matter when I go visit her, when we're doing something she continues to just have a smile and show such great character and she's really special to me.
"There's so much more than hockey and she's taught me that. We're here trying to win the Stanley Cup, fighting our battle and she's fighting her own battle."
The Blues are clearly special to Laila, who has become somewhat of a celebrity in St. Louis and nationwide during the playoffs. But on Wednesday, she just wanted to be a fan and let the Blues, especially Parayko, know she was there.
"He has supported me and now is my chance to give back," she said.
Laila was at Game 7 thanks to the Blues, and clearance from her doctor. Her mom shared the news on Twitter on Tuesday.
As for what's next. Well of course there will be a victory celebration in St. Louis.
"I don't think I'll sleep until the parade is over," Laila said.