Sillather Taylor lay motionless at the foot of the stairs in her house on Dutch Broadway in Elmont, suffering from congestive heart failure. Taylor, 63, had been enjoying her typical Sunday routine. She was dressed and ready for church on the morning of May 5, and was almost out of the house when she remembered she had left something upstairs. What would ordinarily have been a two-minute delay turned into a life-changing experience for her.
Luckily, Taylor was not alone. Her son, retired NYPD Detective Chojone Maye, 44 — who had offered to go upstairs for her — lives with her, along with his wife, Regine, and their three daughters. Maye suffers from lymphoma, a cancer of the blood, and his sister, Tavonia Taylor-Thompson, 25, told the Herald that their mother did not want him to make the trip up and down the stairs in his weakened condition.
Taylor began feeling faint as she descended the stairs, and then she lost consciousness and fell. Maye and his wife heard her, and rushed to the living room, where his mother had tumbled down the last steps. At first, he froze. But then Regine snapped Chojone into what his sister described as “police mode,” and he began cardiopulmonary resuscitation on his mother. She was slow to come back to life, but her son didn’t give up. Every ounce of energy he exerted weakened him, but that was the last thing on his mind, he said later. Eventually he revived her, feeling a pulse once again.
In the meantime, his cousin, Denita Barksdale, had called 911. When paramedics arrived, they discovered that Taylor’s heartbeat was out of rhythm, so they shocked her with a defibrillator. She was taken to Franklin General Hospital, and then transferred to North Shore Manhasset. She was in the hospital from May 5 until June 1.
Taylor-Thompson said the experience was a wake-up call for her, and she had nothing but praise for her older brother. “I thought I was never going to see my mom alive again,” she said. “I was in disbelief. [Chojone] is unselfish, loving and a wonderful man.”
Maye’s other sister, Jonea Taylor-Bolling, said that his quick action was what saved their mother. “Thank God for our brother,” she said. “If he wasn’t there, our mother wouldn’t be here right now.”
Since the incident, Taylor has undergone double-bypass surgery, and her family has been by her side, helping her recover. “My son saved my life,” she said simply. “He is my heart, my hero, my everything. I gave him life and he gave me back mine. He’s an angel.”