The same smile that lit up arenas during the St. Louis Blues’ 2019 Stanley Cup run lit up Annie Gunn’s restaurant in Chesterfield on Monday.
These days, Blues superfan Laila Anderson has many reasons to smile. With her life-threatening autoimmune disorder in the rearview mirror, she’s living like any old teenager.
“I am a freshman in ninth grade,” Laila said. “I play hockey. I have a dog. I’m here to look forward and live in the present.”
On Monday, Laila and her marrow donor, Kenton Felmlee, continued to raise awareness for the Be the Match organization. Be the Match is the nonprofit Laila credits for saving her life.
“With the selfless act that he did and the selfless act that others have, that is what can help save the lives of children and adults around the world,” Laila said.
“I am flattered and honored to help Laila carry the torch and show everybody how much it means to join the registry and how much of an impact it can make,” Kenton said. “I couldn’t have been happier with my choice to sign up and to help all those doctors and this wonderful organization save her life.”
“We really push Laila’s story because it is so inspiring,” Be the Match Foundation Executive Director Joy King said. “It has attracted millions of views on TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.”
Laila’s story has inspired to join the marrow donor registry. That means more people might get the opportunity to experience a healthy lifestyle and show off lighthearted smiles just like Laila’s.
“Every patient deserves a second chance at life, just like I got. By supporting Be the Match, you’re going to make that happen.”