The life of a Twin Cities teenager changed forever one evening in Duluth.
Alex Balluff will never be the same thanks to a drunk driver.
On February 21, Alex and his family told their compelling story, about the damage a drunk driver can do, to a group of teenagers on the Iron Range.
"I Never imagined in my wildest dreams that a family member would be run over by a drunk driver," said Alex's father, Mike Balluff.
Three years ago, on Halloween Night 2009, Mike's son Alex Balluff and three friends were walking along rice lake road when they were struck by a drunk driver.
Alex was given a one percent chance of living. Against the odds he survived but now lives with a traumatic brain injury.
"I remained in a coma for months and had extensive rehab and had to re-learn everything from breathing, swallowing, and all activities of a normal life," said Alex.
Alex proved all of his doctors wrong and is now sharing the story of his recovery. His family stopped at Hibbing High School Thursday to spread their message of tragedy and triumph.
"We are grateful for getting this opportunity to share Alex's story in hopes that no other family goes through what we've gone through," said Debbie Balluff, Alex's mother.
"The difficult part is it makes you relive it again, but it's a good thing if we can hopefully save a few lives," said Mike.
The Balluff family's motto is lifesaver and they gave lifesavers to all 600 in attendance.
"A lifesaver means someone who is there for their friends to drive- to be the sober driver- someone there to take the keys away- to save a life," said Debbie.
Shay Temple, a freshman at Hibbing High School was especially touched by Alex's story.
His brother was in a car crash and spent considerable time in the trauma unit. Luckily he recovered.
"Our family pulled together and we really brought the strength that we had for each other," said Temple.
Alex has come so far in his journey and has left an impact on so many
"He's an inspiration he pushed forward through one of the hardest things in life you could ever deal with," said Stormy Gould, a junior at Hibbing High School.
In June Alex and his family will return to Duluth where it all began. They will run together with friends and supporters in the William Irvin 5K.
"To watch Alex run and to finish that race- no words can express how great that is," said Debbie.
Alex and his family also told their story at Nashwauk High School and Cherry High School.
If you wish to follow Alex's journey, you can visit caringbridge.org/alexballuff
Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati