Remember Laila? Now 15, Blues fan who overcame rare disease plays hockey (and even won a Cup!)

15-Year-Old Blues Superfan and Rare Disease Survivor Laila Achieves Dream by Playing Hockey and Winning a Championship!

Laila Anderson, a 15-year-old, stands confidently in her hockey gear, gripping her helmet, ready for action. This moment was captured at the Maryville University Hockey Center in Chesterfield on a Thursday, March 14, 2024. The photograph, taken by Vanessa Abbitt of the Post-Dispatch, encapsulates Laila’s spirit and determination.

Laila’s journey to the ice is a story of resilience and courage. Her father, Scott Anderson, often watches her games from a distance, alone, to fully immerse himself in the joy of seeing his daughter thrive. Despite his solitary stance, his pride and emotions are overwhelming, especially considering the challenges they’ve faced together.

Laila is not just any teenager. She’s the same brave girl who, in 2019, became an inspiration for the St. Louis Blues during their historic Stanley Cup win. Battling hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, a rare autoimmune disease, she underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. Her fight and positivity touched many, including her favorite player, Colton Parayko, and the entire city of St. Louis.

In a remarkable turn of events, Laila now plays hockey herself. Earlier this month, she and her team, the Chesterfield Lady Falcons, clinched the Blue Note Cup in the Bantam (B3) Division. It was a victory that felt full circle, not just for Laila but for everyone who’s followed her journey.

Scott Anderson, Laila’s father, has his own connection to hockey, having grown up playing on the ponds of Mahtomedi, Minnesota. He passed his love for the game to Laila, taking her to Blues games and sharing the excitement of the sport. Despite her illness, Laila’s passion for hockey never waned. She even made it onto the jumbotron at games, capturing the heart of the city.

Her battle with HLH, diagnosed in September 2018, was a challenging period. Yet, Laila’s spirit remained unbroken. She connected with the Blues’ players at a Halloween event, forming a bond that would see her through the toughest times. Restricted from public spaces for months, a special moment came when she was allowed to attend a Blues game, a turning point in her recovery.

Laila’s story is one of inspiration, not just to her peers but to everyone who hears it. She’s become a symbol of hope and resilience, embodying the spirit of the St. Louis Blues and the city itself. Her return to hockey, scoring her first goal, and winning the Blue Note Cup are testaments to her incredible journey.

As Laila continues to face challenges, her strength and determination shine through. Her story is a reminder of the power of hope, the importance of community, and the unbreakable bond between a father and his daughter. Laila Anderson is more than a hockey player; she’s a beacon of inspiration, proving that no battle is too tough when you have the right team by your side.