Tag Archives: Laila Anderson

Best of Good News Friday, 2019: An NBA superstar retires, and he gets an awesome commercial sendoff. An “America’s Got Talent” contestant wows like no other. And the amazing Laila Anderson helps the Blues win a Cup.

Happy New Year! I’ve got 2020 vision this morning and I’m not even wearing my glasses (ba-da-bum. Sorry, yeah, I know that was bad.)

I hope you all had a safe and joyous New Year’s Eve; we took the kids to two middle of the day “balloon drop” New Year’s Eve parties for little ones so we were pretty wiped out by 7 p.m. Which means I didn’t even stay up for our annual NYE tradition of being grossed out when Jenny McCarthy sticks her tongue down boyfriend Donnie Wahlberg’s throat in Times Square just after midnight (Dick Clark, we miss you).

Anyway, let’s continue with the Best of Good News Friday, 2019, as we take a last look at some of the stories that made me happiest over the past year.

First up, NBA superstar and three-time world champion Dwyane Wade finished his illustrious career in June, and what a career it was. Besides Wade’s impact on the court, he was a true hero off the court, impacting millions of lives with good works large and small.

Budweiser did maybe the best tribute commercial I’ve ever seen in Wade’s honor, bringing Wade to an empty basketball court and surprising him with people whose lives he touched and changed.

It’s a truly beautiful ad, showing us what one athlete can do with the platform they’re given.

**Next up, I’m not a regular viewer of “America’s Got Talent” but when someone or something on the show goes so viral it’s impossible to ignore, I generally notice.

That happened this past May, when a blind, autistic young man named Kodi Lee came out for his first appearance before the judges and absolutely blew them away.

Walking onstage with his Mom, Kodi calmly sat down and changed his life, wowing judges like Julianne Hough and Gabrielle Union, and even the previously cold-hearted Simon Cowell.

This is an absolutely beautiful moment, that ended up being the catapult to Lee winning the entire “AGT” championship a few months later.

Just sensational. My favorite part of this video is his Mom, Tina, watching with pride from the side of the stage. NO one knows just what she’s gone through raising Kodi, and just seeing her beam at watching this moment, it’s just the best.

**And finally today, maybe my favorite story of the year, from the world of hockey. This, from June, about an 11-year-old sick girl named Laila Anderson…

The St. Louis Blues, the worst team in the NHL in early January, won the first Stanley Cup in franchise history in June, beating the Boston Bruins in Game 7, 4-1.

But that’s not the part of the story I want to feature in Good News Friday. No, I want to talk about an 11-year-old girl, who’s been “adopted” by the team in an absolutely beautiful way.

From a St. Louis Post Dispatch story on Laila: “Laila is a Missouri kid who suffers from a rare disease called HLH, a systemic inflammatory syndrome that can be fatal. Last Halloween, Laila attended a trick-or-treat event with the Blues and Children’s Hospital. She met Colton Parayko, one of her favorite players on her favorite team.

“He was 100-percent committed to her, took her around trick-or-treating,” Heather Anderson, Laila’s Mom, said. “I said, ‘It’s OK,’ and he said, ‘I’ve got her – I’m going to hold her bag, I’m going to hold her drink, I’m going to do everything.’ He’s all in with her – they just have this bond. Ever since then, he’s come to visit her in the hospital. Stayed a ridiculously long time. They actually communicate once or twice a week. He just checks on her. It’s a genuine friendship.”

Through the organization Be The Match, a donor was found — Laila had a bone marrow transplant in January. She’s battled through ensuing chemotherapy. She’s fought and fought … and then had more fights to fight.”

Laila has been an inspiration to the team and its fans the last few months, and in Boston for Game 7 of the Finals, she saw her team win the championship, then get to go on the ice and touch the Cup.

An unbelievable moment for an incredible kid. And oh yeah, the Blues gave her her own Stanley Cup ring, too.

So much good in the world. So much more good than bad.

Good News Friday: The ultimate St. Louis Blues fan gets a great surprise. A gay Homecoming Court member gets great acceptance in Memphis. And a fantastic story of a hero doctor in a huge rural area in Texas

And a Happy Friday, y’all. It’s October, which means at some point the weather will get cool (it was 90 degrees here on Wednesday and 55 on Thursday so Ma Nature is having one hell of a fun time with us all), the Oakland A’s will blow a playoff game (thanks for visiting, A’s!) and I’ll be happier than a 3-year-old in a LEGO factory because hockey is back!

Yes hockey, that sport I love so much that despite what the NHL officials try to do, I keep on loving. My Rangers are off to a 1-0 start, but I want to start Good News Friday with a little bit of a bow being placed on a most amazing present and story from last season.

You might remember my writing about Laila Anderson last spring while the St. Louis Blues were on their improbable run to the Stanley Cup championship, the first in franchise history. From a blog post last June., from a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Laila is a Missouri kid who suffers from a rare disease called HLH, a systemic inflammatory syndrome that can be fatal. Last Halloween, Laila attended a trick-or-treat event with the Blues and Children’s Hospital. She met Colton Parayko, one of her favorite players on her favorite team.

“He was 100-percent committed to her, took her around trick-or-treating,” Heather Parayko, Laila’s Mom, said. “I said, ‘It’s OK,’ and he said, ‘I’ve got her – I’m going to hold her bag, I’m going to hold her drink, I’m going to do everything.’ He’s all in with her – they just have this bond. Ever since then, he’s come to visit her in the hospital. Stayed a ridiculously long time. They actually communicate once or twice a week. He just checks on her. It’s a genuine friendship.”

Laila and the Blues’ bond was incredible, and the team flew her to Boston for Game 7 of the Cup Finals, and when they won she got to kiss the Stanley Cup.

But if you thought that was the end of an incredibly sweet story, well… there was one more amazing chapter.

This week, the Blues were due to receive their Stanley Cup rings. Two players made a special delivery to give one ring to their No. 1 fan. Watch and enjoy…

**Next up today, something that should not cause a stir at all anymore, the sexual orientation of a human being, sometimes still does, so it’s nice to see when an area known for intolerance shows quite a lot of it.

A gay high school senior in Memphis, Tenn. was crowned as part of the Homecoming Court last week during the football game, while wearing a dress.

From NBC News: “White Station High School in Memphis, Tennessee, posted a photo Friday congratulating Brandon Allen, 17, on his victory.

The image, which has been liked and shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter, showed Allen covering his mouth in shock and wearing a gold sequin off-the-shoulder gown, diamante tiara and holding a floral bouquet awarded to members of the royal court, a gender neutral title that the school introduced this year in place of the traditional Homecoming King and Queen titles.

“Thank you to everyone who has contributed to me becoming queen,” Allen, who identifies as gay, wrote on his Instagram profile. “You guys truly looked stunningly beautiful and I am so honored to have been able to walk with you guys!!”

Junior Emmett Campbell, 16, who shot the photo and identifies as transgender, told NBC News: “It was such an incredible thing to witness. It was a moment of acceptance and validation for the LGBT+ community from our entire school.”

Very nicely done. Individuality, especially in a peer-pressure packed place like high school, should be celebrated as much as possible.

**Finally today, this is one of those stories where I debated using it in “Good News Friday” because it’s about a serious problem in our country: the almost-complete lack of medical care in large swaths of America, as there are so few doctors in rural communities serving so many.

But I decided it was worth including for two reasons: One, it’s written by the Washington Post’s Eli Saslow, who for my money is the best newspaper feature writer in America right now, and two, it features a truly heroic doctor. A man named Ed Garner is the only physician in a 100-mile radius in the remote town of Van Horn, Texas, and Saslow follows him through his daily work and finds a man doing Herculean things to try to help people.

A brief snippet of this fantastic tale by Saslow. God bless Ed Garner.

He lit a cigarette and rolled down the window as he drove by the dusty ranches and dry lakebeds of West Texas. He’d started smoking to cope with the stress of medical school, but now he’d been practicing rural family medicine for 41 years as the stresses continued to mount. He was the only working doctor left to care for three remote counties east of El Paso, an area similar in size to the entire state of Maryland, home to far-flung oil encampments, a desolate stretch of interstate, communities of drifters living off the electric grid, and highway towns made up of truck stops and budget motels. “A wild place of last resort,” was how Garner described parts of his territory, and for every person in every kind of medical trouble, the true last resort was him.

Now his phone rang and he answered. “How bad is it?” he asked, and a nurse told him the ambulance was on its way back to the hospital with a truck driver who had collapsed at a gas station and couldn’t move his legs.

“Just give me a minute,” Garner said. “I’ll be there as quick as I can.”

 

Good News Friday: The Blues win the Cup, and an 11-year-old sick girl is the inspiration. A comedian and his toddler son have a hilarious TV conversation. And an old Sesame Street video of Kermit and a little girl is super-sweet

And a Happy Friday, y’all, and man what a week it has been. So much going on in the world, our President continues to sink to even lower depths as a human being and a leader (“What? You think I’ve reached bottom? Ha! I’ll show you, I can go WAY lower than this!) but none of that matters today because one of the best feel-good stories in sports the past several months had a happy ending Wednesday night. (And shout-out to the Toronto Raptors for its stunning NBA Finals win Thursday night, too, wow what a victory.)

The St. Louis Blues, the worst team in the NHL in early January, won the first Stanley Cup in franchise history Wednesday, beating the Boston Bruins in Game 7, 4-1.

But that’s not the part of the story I want to feature in Good News Friday. No, I want to talk about an 11-year-old girl, who’s been “adopted” by the team in an absolutely beautiful way.

From a St. Louis Post Dispatch story on Laila: “Laila is a Missouri kid who suffers from a rare disease called HLH, a systemic inflammatory syndrome that can be fatal. Last Halloween, Laila attended a trick-or-treat event with the Blues and Children’s Hospital. She met Colton Parayko, one of her favorite players on her favorite team.

“He was 100-percent committed to her, took her around trick-or-treating,” Heather Parayko, Laila’s Mom, said. “I said, ‘It’s OK,’ and he said, ‘I’ve got her – I’m going to hold her bag, I’m going to hold her drink, I’m going to do everything.’ He’s all in with her – they just have this bond. Ever since then, he’s come to visit her in the hospital. Stayed a ridiculously long time. They actually communicate once or twice a week. He just checks on her. It’s a genuine friendship.”

Through the organization Be The Match, a donor was found — Laila had a bone marrow transplant in January. She’s battled through ensuing chemotherapy. She’s fought and fought … and then had more fights to fight.”

Laila has been an inspiration to the team and its fans the last few months, and check out this inspirational video of her finding out she was getting to go to Boston for Game 7:

And as you know, the Blues won with Laila Anderson in attendance, and she got to kiss the Stanley Cup in that photo above, and dammit, if you don’t need a Kleenex by now, check your ticker.

What a wonderful story. Sports can do amazing things to people.

**Next up today, this short video went viral last week and I’ve only watched it 132 times because it’s so freaking adorable.

A comedian named D.J. Pryor decided to have a “conversation” with his toddler son, Kingston, about a TV show they were just watching together.

And Kingston is totally breaking it down and his Dad is reading him perfectly.

So damn cute. I want someone to give Kingston a job as a TV critic, please.

**And finally today, a sweet piece of nostalgia from “Sesame Street.” The great website Mental Floss brought this to me this week, and it’s just beautiful. It’s a clip of Kermit the Frog and a sweet little girl named Joey Calavan, from a 1973 episode, and watch and smile as Joey tries to joke with Kermit about singing the “ABC” song.

Jim Henson’s reaction is wonderful, as is the gleeful laughter of Joey. We need more of that in the world.

Have a great weekend.