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Verhaeghe Hospital Visit Makes Florida Panthers Superfan’s Day



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Florida Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe and fiancee Casey Engleson visit Superfan Anaiyah on Tuesday in Hollywood. // Photos courtesy Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital

Anaiyah, a 12-year-old patient at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, has become one of the most passionate fans the Florida Panthers have.

During the Stanley Cup Final, she wrote and performed a special song for her favorite team.

“Good luck to the Panthers, I hope you win” Aniyah sang on a video that went viral last month — and made its way to the Panthers.

“It motivated us for Game 7,’’ said Carter Verhaeghe when he walked into Anaiyah’s room on his special visit to the hospital.

Florida captain Sasha Barkov has supported Joe DiMaggio’s Children’s Hospital for the past five years by donating $1,600 for each goal he scores and $800 for each assist throughout the season to the hospital.

The Panthers make it a point to visit the children there on a regular basis. Barkov also donates a suite at the Sunrise arena for the hospital’s use during games.

On Tuesday, Verhaeghe visited a number of patients at the hospital, but brought some special gifts for Anaiyah including a pink jersey with his name and No. 23 on it, as well as a replica of the Stanley Cup that she hoisted over her head.

Anaiyah then sang Verhaeghe and his fiancee Casey Engleson the song that everyone loves so much.

She then led the group in some Panthers cheers — including ‘We Got the Cup’ as Verhaeghe lifted the mini trophy high in the air.

Anaiyah recently received a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) to support her heart, and has been an inpatient at the hospital the past three months.

She is a musician at heart, and plays the flute and guitar, saying that singing helps keep her spirits up.

Anaiyah is waiting on a heart transplant.

More FHN Coverage of the Stanley Cup Champion Panthers:

  • NHL Free Agency: Opened Monday
  • Florida Panthers Development Camp, Fort Lauderdale: Starts July 8
  • Florida Panthers Training Camp, Fort Lauderdale: Mid-September
  • Florida Panthers Preseason: Sept. 22-Oct. 5
  • Florida Panthers Opening Night/Banner Unveiling: Oct. 8 vs. Bruins

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