We all need heroes to look up to, and 14-year-old Ricky Ault of Grand Forks found one in NDSU linebacker Esley Thorton. 

Ault is much like any other North Dakota teenage boy - loves to play video games, work on the farm, and is passionate about NDSU Bison football. However, there is one thing that differentiates him from many others. Ault is currently in the fight of his life after he was diagnosed with leukemia in December of 2013.

Ricky has undergone 25 surgeries in the last year, and after a particularly rough stint in the hospital in Fargo in October, Ault was paid a surprise visit by his hero, senior linebacker Esley Thorton. An unbreakable bond between player and fan was formed that day, as the two got to know each other over a shared passion - football.

On his 14th birthday, Ricky got the surprise of his life during a locker room visit at an NDSU game when he saw a #9 jersey hanging in a locker with 'Ault' emblazoned on the name plate above. He got the star treatment that day, taking in the game like most fans only dream of.

While Ricky continues the fight of his life, he's got not only the entire NDSU team behind him, but all of North Dakota. And that truly is 'Bison Pride'.

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