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February 13, 2013 10:06 PM

Conrad's Clan

Pierre, SD

You might have already heard of Conrad Adam. But if not, this young man's story is one of triumph, inspiration and accepting the things you can not change.

As a sophomore standout, he helped the Pierre Governors boys' basketball team reach a third place finish in last year's season. But this summer, his life took a dramatic turn.

He was only a sophomore when one of the top five spots was given to him.

"When districts came around, I was given the opportunity to have the starting point guard position," Conrad said.

Number five in green and white was also the one he claimed as his own. His parents will tell you that basketball has been a part of Conrad's life since before he could walk. College hoops were an almost given prospect. But what started as a sore knee changed everything.

"Finally went in and got an MRI and that's when, in Sioux Falls on August 1, is when I was diagnosed," Conrad said.

He had osteosarcoma; bone cancer.  It was heartbreaking and shocking news to this seventeen year old and his parents.

"It's a life changing battle and we're in survivorship mode. What do we need to do to save our son? You put your game face on. You do what you gotta do," dad Karl Adam said.

Conrad's parents, Joan and Karl, say the issue immediately became a top priority.

"You will do whatever it takes to get the best care for your child; you get to the experts. I think there's part of you that just wants to get it taken care, right away. Get it taken care of and let's get back to our normal life," Joan said.

But things would have to get worse before they could start to get better. The cancer would eventually claim Conrad's left leg from just above the knee down. Yet the teenager talks about it with a smile on his face.

"It's pretty easy with all the support; you really have nothing to hide. You're gonna have to live with it the rest of your life so just make the most of what you have and just do all you can now," Conrad said.

Conrad just got a new prosthetic leg and was able to show it off at a home game Saturday night. The crowd was also full of green shirts in his honor. His team is now much more than just who is on the court. It's a clan, just for Conrad.

"I've been lucky to have such great friends and family and have been in athletics and have played with a lot of kids around the state in the summer and just to have that kind of support, it's kind of overwhelming and it's just crazy. You never expect that," Conrad said.

"All of us identify our towns and our pride for our teams in our colors and what colors you wear in our gyms. To see these towns and entire teams abandon their colors in the name of Conrad and wear the Governor Green has been so endearing and so inspiring. It's really something that we will forever be grateful for," Joan said

Conrad's coach says the support has been seen across South Dakota, even when the Governors aren't there.

"It's really caught fire through South Dakota. I mean it’s everywhere we go. It's incredible that it’s sometimes games that we're not even involved in and they're showing support," Coach Terry Becker said.

A few weekends ago, the Washington Warriors wore the "Conrad's Clan" shirts during a game Pierre wasn't even playing in. This last weekend, the O'Gorman Knights sported them as well. They also presented a check for $2,000 to Conrad. Pierre has also been raffling off jerseys at home games.  Becker says even though Conrad isn't on the court, he's leading the team.

"Even last year as a sophomore on our team, with a bunch of upper classmen, he wasn't afraid to show those leadership qualities and we just knew he was going to be a big part of what we did this year. And he still is," Becker said.

Conrad's parents say they can't thank the people of South Dakota enough for the outpouring of support. As for Conrad, he's far from being sidelined.

"Sports has been too big of a thing in my life to just sit around and wait for something else to happen. I've got to make the most of now and I still got another year of high school left that I'm hoping that I can do some pretty cool things," Conrad said.

Conrad has 20 weeks of chemo left and as for what he's hoping to do his senior year? He says he wants to be lifting with the football team this fall, and you might have guessed it, be back on the basketball court next winter.

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