Colorado Springs

Paralympic athlete shares story for National Stroke Awareness Month

WATCH: Paralympic athlete shares...

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Watching Billy Lister on his bike, you might not even realize that the whole left side of his body is mostly paralyzed. 

A paralympic athlete who competed in Rio in 2016, Lister is in his prime, with hopes to make it to Tokyo in 2020. 

When Lister was just 17 years old, he suffered a stroke after surgery for a brain abnormality. His stroke was unlike many cases where severe symptoms appear all at once.

For him, it was a slow gradual process that took weeks. Each day, he says he lost the ability to do activities like open doors or type on a keyboard.

After a lengthy recovery and many ups and downs in his life, after more than a decade, Lister found his passion. 

In 2012, he got on a bike for the first time since his stroke. Things instantly clicked, and he decided to start intensive training for the paralympics in 2014. 

When Lister competed in Rio, he took 5th and 6th in his events, a great accomplishment, but Lister hopes to make it back to the paralympics in 2020. He is hoping to metal. 

Lister says through it all, support from fellow stroke survivors was crucial to be where he is today. 

For more about signs and symptoms of stroke, how to donate, or more about events for the National Stroke Awareness, visit their website.

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