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'11 out of 10:' Hawley teen gets sports prosthetic leg from Little Buddy Foundation

The Little Buddy Foundation has helped get prosthetic limbs to just over a dozen children, including a South Dakota teenager who can now take part in rodeos, thanks to a new arm.

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Glen Ulen head coach Greg Pruitt's the Little Buddy Foundation donates prosthetic limbs to worthy children.
Ryan Longnecker / WDAY News
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HAWLEY, Minn. — Friday, Nov. 18, was a good day for Hawley eighth-grader Max Lien, who is now one step closer to a dream of playing high school basketball.

When Hawley eighth-graders were called to the school gym, it wasn't for phy ed class.

"If you're thinking about yourself rather than serving others, it's a miserable day. Start focusing your energy on others, and you're going to have a great day," said Greg Pruitt of the Little Buddy Foundation.

Pruitt, a longtime high school coach in western North Dakota and founder of the Little Buddy Foundation, had a surprise for 14-year-old Max Lien.

"Those of you in here that are scared to try something, what is holding you back?" Pruitt asked the class.

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Max Lien had part of his right leg amputated because of tumors due to a genetic condition.

"When you look at this," Pruitt said while showing a prosthetic leg to the class. "This is overcoming adversity. This is life without limitations."

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For a Kathryn, North Dakota native, one bad day at work, a stop at a bar, and a shotgun, nearly cost him his life. He shared his story with WDAY's Kevin Wallevand, with the hope sharing his experience will save lives.

The Little Buddy Foundation, inspired by the life of legendary Northern State basketball coach Don Meyer, selected Max Lien to receive a sports prosthetic. A special $12,000 device that will help Max Lien with a dream: To try out for the Hawley boys basketball team.

"Now I feel a lot more confident than I used to be," Max Lien said.

"This is going to open a whole new set of doors and, you know, life experiences," said Christina Lien, Max's mom. "You don't want to ever miss out on anything, and just having opportunities."

Max Lien's grandparents were all choked up as their grandson tried on a new sports prosthetic which has more spring than his other one. For Max Lien and his family, they are a game changer.

"You start to just cherish a lot of moments that otherwise may have just been wasted," Christina Lien said. "So, you really learn to appreciate a lot."

Max heard from heroes Brian Reynolds, a marathon runner, and Wahpeton's Jacob Petermann, both who use sports prosthetic legs.

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"Welcome to the family and congratulations again. I can't wait to see what you do in the future, and hopefully with this prosthetic, you will be able to do amazing things with it," said Petermann, who lost a leg due to cancer.

It hasn't always been easy for Max Lien, but today there were high fives and handshakes all around. The start of something big and new. And if he were to rate today?

"An 11 out of 10," he said.

Related Topics: KEVIN WALLEVANDHAWLEY
Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

Contact Email: kwallevand@wday.com
Phone Number: (701) 241-5317
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