Rick's Interview with Billy about Stroke Month!

Thursday, May 4th


Stroke Survivor, Cyclist, AND U.S. Paralympian.

When Billy was 15 years old he was diagnosed with a rare and life threatening brain abnormality that required surgery. Doctors mentioned to Billy that a stroke could be a side effect of my surgery and two short years later, at the age 17, he suffered from a stroke.

The stroke was unique in that it was a slow and regressive process. Every morning he woke up with a new symptom. One day it was not being able to tie his shoes, or brush his teeth, and eventually he couldn’t walk. Doctors couldn't say if the stroke was going to stop or what physical condition he would be left in. After four weeks of symptoms it stopped and left him with his full left side neurologically paralyzed. His full and active life changed right there in that moment.

In 2011 Billy got on a bike while attending a Para-triathlon camp. He decided to dedicate his life to training as a cyclist for the Paralympics. In July of 2016, he secured the top overall spot among male two wheel upright cyclists, and grabbed his ticket to Rio de Janeiro.

Billy competed in three events during the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro—two on a track and one on the road. He aspires to be a four-time Paralympian, competing not only in 2020 but also in 2024 and 2028 and believes that this stroke has been a gift in his life to enable him to be stronger than he ever imagined.

Stroke Month Talking Points:

Learn more about stroke prevention and awareness at www.strokeassociation.org.

May is American Stroke Month! Join the American Stroke Association in learning to recognize the signs of a stroke F.A.S.T – Face Drooping, Arm Weakness, Speech Difficulty and Time to Call 9-1-1.

What’s good for your health is good for your brain. The American Stroke Association recommends following “Life’s Simple 7” to achieve ideal health: don’t smoke, be physically active, eat a healthy diet, maintain a healthy body weight, and control cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.

Do you have a loved one who has had a stroke? While stroke threatens millions of lives, it is largely preventable, treatable and beatable. (80% of strokes are preventable.)

Controlling your blood pressure is the #1 controllable risk factor for preventing stroke. Check your blood pressure on a regular basis and know your numbers to prevent a stroke from happening to you.

Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death in the United States. That’s 1 in every 20 deaths.

Every 40 seconds someone in the US has a stroke. Every four minutes, someone dies of stroke.

Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the U.S.​