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Young Blues fan battling rare disease gets surprise trip to Game 3

When the St. Louis Blues take the ice for Game 3 of the Western Conference Final Wednesday night (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN; live stream) there will be a very special guest in attendance at Enterprise Center.

Laila Anderson is a young Blues fan who has been battling a rare disease called Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocystosis (HLH), which, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, affects the immune system and causes certain white blood cells to attack other blood cells and enlarges organs such as the spleen and liver.

According to the Blues, Laila’s diagnosis has only been found in 15 other children in the world.

A call for bone marrow donors was made by the team in November and a month later a match was found. Since January, Laila has only been at home or the hospital, but has had visits from Alex Steen, Kelly Chase and announcer Joe Buck.

This week Laila received a very special update that her doctor would allow her to attend a Blues game. Her mom, Heather, broke the news to her on Tuesday that she would be in attendance as the team looks to take a 2-1 series lead against the San Jose Sharks.

That was a continuation of a great week for Laila.

Last Thursday she received her final treatment at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and got to ring the bell. Of course, being the Blues fan that she is, she had to get in a GLORIA! while doing so.

“It just touches my heart. It makes me feel good,” Laila told the Blues website in November. “Even watching a Blues game (in the hospital) just changes everything. It makes me happy.”


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.