Prairie Life Fitness in Cool Springs unexpectedly closed its doors Tuesday night, leaving one business searching for a new home.
Kennette Pyles teaches Infant Swimming Resource or ISR, which is water survival skills for children.
It’s a passion she pursued following the drowning of her child, nearly 20 years ago.
“It was devastating. He died in a lake,” Pyles explained to News 2. “It’s one of those situations where his dad thought I had him, I thought his dad had him, and he went missing. In a lake, you go under, and you don’t come up. It’s a very silent thing.”
Now she dedicates her time through the Ryan Pyles Aquatic Foundation to helping children learn survival swimming skills.
“The survival swimming, the specific style that she teaches has been proven to save thousands and thousands of lives. It’s very different than your run-of-the-mill water accumulation classes,” said Sophia Birdwell, who has had three children complete the course.
Pyles says her child’s death could have been prevented with survival swimming lessons instead of regular swimming classes he was taking.
“Her story, it brings me to tears,” Birdwell said with tears in her eyes. “As a mother to four boys, I couldn’t imagine losing one — especially to drowning — and to know there is something parents can do to prevent it. And to give these kids the skills that they need to save themselves — it’s priceless.”
Pyles says Prairie Life Fitness announced last week that they would be closing, leaving the life-saving teacher and her clients without a float.
“[I’m] heartbroken,” said Marie Mills, whose two children have taken lessons from Pyles. “To me, it’s not even an option. We’ve got to find a way to help her keep this going.”
“I don’t have anywhere to take this program. I’ve already got a summer that’s almost booked and families that rely on me and a place that was really, very steadfast. You know, pretty steady and now all of a sudden I don’t have anywhere to go,” Pyles said.
She has found some temporary private pools to use for the next few weeks but needs a permanent location.
One of the parents has started a GoFundMe to help. To donate, click here.