National Stroke Awareness Month: Smiley’s Voice Foundation

As we continue our recognition and participate in the National Stroke Awareness Month of May, we take time to highlight the impact of stroke on our own CHS family.

This November marks the 10th anniversary that our Home & Community Based Services Executive Director, Carol Hylton and her husband, lost their son Michael Hylton Jr. also known as “DJ Smiley” to a stroke at age 29. Carol Hylton, RN, has been a leader at Catholic Health Services for over 20 years. This loss, propelled her family to participate in stroke awareness and education and led to the creation of the Smiley’s voice Foundation, Inc.

Learn more about how Carol and her family are spreading light and sharing the legacy of DJ smiley throughout the community:

What is Smiley’s Voice?
Smiley’s Voice Foundation, Inc., was established to continue my son’s legacy and to share his love for humanity with the others. His family and friends are dedicated to positively impacting the lives of other families by supporting the Foundation’s vision.

What is the Foundation’s vision?
To decrease the number of people who die annually from strokes.

What is the Mission of Smiley’s Voice Foundation?
“Making a Difference in the Lives of Many Through Stroke Awareness and Prevention Programs.”

Smiley’s Voice Foundation is committed to increasing stroke awareness by providing community education and prevention programs, resources, and support groups to:

  • populations identified as being at high risk for strokes;
  • families caring for individuals recovering from a stroke;
  • to parents and siblings who have suffered the loss of a loved one due to a stroke;
  • young adults, through alliances with schools, churches and youth centers;

We also support the education of college students pursuing health professions in nursing or medicine through mentoring and financial assistance.

What is something your organization has accomplished that you are most proud of?
Last Thanksgiving, our members, and volunteers came together to cater and serve dinner for the families, staff, and visitors on the Memorial Regional Hospital’s Stroke Unit. The families were surprised and so grateful that someone would do this for them.

I am also so proud that we’ve had the opportunity to provide financial assistance to stroke survivors and annual scholarships to nursing and medical students. Since our inception in 2010, we’ve provided scholarships to 15 students, nine scholarships to nursing students and six scholarships to medical students.

I’m so thankful to have a team of people who sacrifice time with their loved ones to pour into the lives of others. Their tears of joy for each accomplishment brings such joy to my heart and further confirms why we do this: To spread my son’s light and love; to make a difference.

Can you share a story when you realized your efforts were making a difference in the community?
I remember meeting a gentleman at one of our community health fairs. We were conducting screenings for diabetes through blood sugar tests. We identified one gentleman with a blood sugar level of 600! Though he was seen in the ER a week prior, he was never diagnosed with diabetes. He and his wife were under the impression that the elevated blood sugar was caused from eating too many sweets. From there, I convinced him and his wife to go to the ER immediately for treatment. Thankfully they took my advice and went to the hospital to receive appropriate testing and treatment and was finally diagnosed as a Diabetic.

It is stories like these that prove our mission to be true. Through education, we are saving lives in our community.I genuinely believe we are “Making a difference in the lives of many,” one person at a time.

How can someone join the organization or learn more about Stroke awareness?
You learn more about us, or how you can be involved we encourage you to; visit our website at smileysvoice.com, email us at smileysvoice@gmail.com or call us at 954-2787219 C:305-798-4659. We are always in need of passionate volunteers!

Come out to Smiley’s Voice 9th Annual Health Fair and Family Fun Day Community Health Fair happening this Saturday, May 18th at Washington Park & Community Center in Hollywood. The free event will provide food, fun, and games for the kids, free health screenings, resources and more. Visit www.smileysvoice.com/about-us.html for more information!

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