BOISE -- It's hard to recognize Dorian Willes' life, compared to what it was eight years ago.

"Instead of making excuses, you have to say 'I can do this, I can do whatever I want, I can make my life something worth talking about,'" said Willes.

Willes is trying to do just that by training to compete in the Paralympics.

But when he first started making the news back in 2008, he was part of a much different story. Willes was a meth addict and the suspect in a drug investigation when he ran from Boise Police officers. They eventually found him with a gun and shot him nearly two dozen times. He spent several months in a coma in the hospital, then went to jail.

"As horrible as it was that I got shot 21 times, the fact I lived through it and that I'm here today - there's a reason why I'm here," Willes said.

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Willes says that reason is to prove to himself and others that you can change your life. He lost his right leg in the shooting, and had to re-learn how to walk and run with a prosthetic. For the past year, Willes has flown around the globe, in order to fly down the ice head-first.

He's part of the U.S. National Paralympic skeleton team, and this year he finished 4th in the World Championships.

Now, he's back in Boise, with his sights set on the biggest competition of all.

"As an athlete I'm just beside myself that I might actually get to compete in the Paralympics," said Willes.

Willes says he hopes to teach others that excuses get you nowhere, but strength and perseverance can carry you anywhere.

"In life there's good and bad in everything, so it's what you take out of it," said Willes.

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He has decided to take his new life and focus on pushing himself physically, despite his disability.

"I think about it every day, and really it makes life that much sweeter to think about where I was at and the things that I'm doing today," said Willes.

Willes is also sharing his story. He's spoken to more than a 100,000 kids throughout the Northwest. He hopes to steer them away from the terrible place he once found himself.

"It doesn't matter where you're from what your home life is like, at the end of the day it's your decision on what you want to do," said Willes.

He also hopes to prove that you can always recover and rebuild your life to help make other lives better.

"Every day when I wake up, I try to carry myself with my head held high and I work hard every single day to be that inspiration and hopefully be that light to the people who are struggling," said Willes.

Willes does power lifting and body building in Boise to stay in shape in the off season. He's also working on a book, and hopes to start a non-profit called Champions Rebuilt.

This September, officials will decide whether to include the skeleton sport in the Paralympics for the first time in 2018.

You can help send Willes to world wide competitions and support his efforts to make the Paralympics.