Cyclist raises stroke awareness

Posted at 2:28 PM, Apr 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-29 16:28:09-04

A stroke survivor is setting his sights on the United States Paralympic cycling team.

Billy Lister hopes to qualify for Team USA this July, bringing his journey full circle.

Lister suffered a rare stroke at the age of 17, that resulted in a full left-side hemi paresis state.

"I was trying to change the radio station with my left hand, and I kept missing the button," said Lister, describing the day he realized he was having a stroke.

Nearly 17 years later, he is one step away from representing the United States in Rio de Janeiro.

"It's a mindset of never giving up and determination and knowing that there is life after stroke," said Lister.

With his companion dog "Potter" by his side, Lister spends hours training at the United States Olympic Committee facilities in Colorado Springs.

The pair hope to take their routine to Rio this summer, and Lister says the goal is gold.

But, the focus is not on himself, it's on the National Stroke Association, which has supported him every step of the way. Lister will participate in the NSA's Comeback Trail Series 5k, a nationwide series of run/walk events to provide support to stroke survivors and families.

"Every day there is a way," said Lister. It's a message of hope he shares with other survivors who are struggling.

May is National Stroke Awareness month. Every 40 seconds, someone in the United Stakes has a stroke.

More than 6 million stroke survivors live in the U.S., but projections say the number will increase to 10 million by 2030.