Being Present Can Save A Life

June 3, 2021

In May 2020, John Lyles met the man who would help save his life.

Two men in front of a grey brick wall, both smiling

Mr. John Lyles and Roof Above staff member Kileem Slayton

Facing serious health issues and no longer able to work, Mr. Lyles turned to Tryon Shelter for a safe place to stay. There he met case manager Kileem Slayton and they began to work together on food assistance and housing. During the pandemic, as shelter guests were moved to the motels to ensure safe social distancing, Mr. Lyles continued to keep his appointments at Tryon with Kileem.

One day in July, Mr. Lyles was on time as usual, but something wasn’t right. Kileem recalls, “When Mr. Lyles walked into my office, he was sweating like he had just run a marathon, which made me attentive. He was disoriented and his speech was impaired.” From his first aid training, Kileem recognized the signs of a possible stroke. At first Mr. Lyles didn’t believe him but called his niece to take him to the hospital, where a stroke was confirmed.

Mr. Lyles is convinced that “I would have been dead without Kileem.”

Kileem sees it differently. “I think Mr. Lyles saved his own life because he was consistently meeting with me so often that I could compare his appearance and behavior. I knew something was wrong.”

Sabrina and John smiling in front of grey brick wall

Mr. John Lyles and niece Sabrina Lyles

Niece Sabrina Lyles helps her uncle, keeping up with the medical paperwork and attending all his doctor appointments. When Mr. Lyles first went to Tryon Shelter, she was afraid for him to go because of his fragile health. She says that his experience “has opened my eyes to what all you do here, and I am grateful.”

Like all our staff at Roof Above, Kileem strives to be present for each person. Mr. Lyles says, “I know y’all deal with hundreds or thousands of lives. This young man still treats everyone like they are the only ones.” #WeLoveOurStaff #HousingIsHealthcare