SOURCE: National Stroke Association

National Stroke Association

October 22, 2015 11:05 ET

National Stroke Association Releases Inspirational "Come Back Strong" Public Service Announcement Sparking a New National Movement

World Stroke Day Is Thursday, October 29; Emotionally Riveting PSA Tells the #Comebackstrong Story of Billy Lister Who Survived a Stroke at Age 17

CENTENNIAL, CO--(Marketwired - Oct 22, 2015) - National Stroke Association released a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) this week as part of Come Back Strong -- the first national movement to rally for stroke recovery. The PSA has been released in honor of World Stroke Day which is Thursday, October 29.

The National Stroke Association PSA tells the emotional and inspiring story of stroke survivor Billy Lister who suffered a stroke at the age of 17 leaving half his body paralyzed. Today Billy is a triathlete, cycling national champion, and U.S. Paralympic Cycling Team hopeful. His bike is specially modified to function using only his right hand. At the touch of a button he can change gears and a dual brake allows him to engage both the front and rear brake simultaneously.

"This PSA is a wakeup call, not only to the stroke community, but to the world. I'm here to tell everyone out there that there is hope after stroke," said Billy Lister, stroke survivor. "I want the world to be inspired by this message of strength and know that surviving a stroke doesn't mean you're condemned to a life of weakness. I came back strong -- and you can too."

Although it's the number-five cause of death -- killing more women each year than breast cancer -- stroke remains largely misunderstood when it comes to awareness and the opportunity for recovery. To help address this issue, National Stroke Association developed the PSA to underscore the Come Back Strong movement, declaring loudly that there is hope after stroke.

"As a stroke survivor myself, I wanted the PSA to tell an awe-inspiring story of stroke survival," said Matt Lopez, CEO of National Stroke Association. "The PSA makes it feel like you're there with Billy on the road cheering him onward. With Billy's help, we're completely shifting the way the world views stroke and starting a conversation about stroke recovery that's never been tackled before."

Directed by Stephen French from digital healthcare agency Thread, with support from director of photography, actor Giovanni Ribisi, and Oscar-nominated composer, Johann Johannsson, the PSA is shot in an anamorphic lens, reminiscent of the classic Hollywood film, "Rocky," with the narrative building around the emotionally captivating journey of stroke survivor, Billy Lister.

With shots of Billy cycling up a steep hill, viewers are instantly motivated by his endurance and drawn to his perseverance as they discover that he suffered a stroke at age 17, which paralyzed half his body. Through the moving musical score composed by Johannsson, viewers learn that today Billy competed as a triathlete and is a cycling national champion and now a Paralympic hopeful. Fans can follow Billy's Come Back Strong on Twitter or Instagram.

About Come Back Strong
National Stroke Association unveiled the Come Back Strong movement this month, offering millions of stroke survivors and their circle of family and friends a rallying point to support the journey through stroke recovery. Unlike other survivor communities, there has been no unified message, symbol or color to support stroke. Come Back Strong provides that rallying point, with the visual strength of the blue return symbol. Intentionally left open, the return symbol reflects the reality that while not everyone makes a full return to their former self, each survivor has the opportunity to journey forward toward a new normal.

In addition to the PSA, the $1.1 million Come Back Strong initiative, led by California-based Capwell Communications in partnership with ad agency Sonic Health, includes digital, print, television, radio, events, public relations, and social media.

About National Stroke Association
National Stroke Association offers people Hope After Stroke, so survivors and their circle of care can begin their journey to Come Back Strong. Founded in 1984, National Stroke Association is the only U.S. organization focused solely on reducing the incidence and impact of stroke through prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation support for stroke survivors and caregivers.

www.stroke.org

Available by Request: Stroke survivor interviews and hi-res artwork.