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A little over ten years ago, at the age of 50, Mitchell suffered a massive heart attack. The scare changed his life. For the next seven years, he hiked and walked five to seven times a week in order to rehabilitate. When he started to feel like his old self again, he decided to “slack off” as he put it. As a result, things took a turn for the worse and he wound up back in the hospital with two blocked arteries. Mitchell’s doctor advised he join the YMCA’s Healthy Heart program, a community-based cardiac prevention, rehabilitation and maintenance program, that supports people living with cardiac risk through education and supervised exercise. Since then, Mitchell’s quality of life has greatly improved. “This program not only helped me move past my heart trouble, it totally transformed me and I’m now in excellent physical condition,” shares Mitchell. Three years later, Mitchell’s doctor told him his heart defect was gone. “I’ve had a remarkable recovery and I believe it’s because of the Healthy Heart program that I am alive,” he says with a proud smile.

Today, he is leading others to become active in the YMCA Healthy Heart program through his role as volunteer fitness instructor.