In April 2017, Alan was within 20 minutes of dying during a low risk robotically done heart surgery to replace his mitral valve. The surgery was completed on schedule, but when the surgeon put his heart back online from the bypass heart pump, an unexpected complication happened — he was internally bleeding.

He remained unaware of his battle for life for the first five days in the ICU. On the sixth day, he had his first cognitive awakening, and the group of doctors asked him standard protocol questions: “Who is the president of the United States?” Alan answered humorously, causing the surgeons and nurses to roar with laughter.

“I owe some credit for my feat to the Mission Valley YMCA where my family have been members for 43 years. The weight room, with all the machines and free weights keeps my body fit, especially my legs for sprinting. My standard routine now at age 80.6 is Monday, Wednesday, Friday at Mission Valley YMCA so I can be ready for my next all-comers track meet.”

Six months after returning home, Alan ran his first 100-meter race in an all-comers track meet and came in first for the 70-74 age group. In January 2023, now at the age of 80, he participated in another all-comers track meet. To his surprise, his time of 16.89 seconds for 100 meters was posted online at as the fastest time worldwide for an 80 to 100-year-old person in 2023.


We hear stories every day about how people’s lives have been changed at the Y. Our members and program participants inspire us with the remarkable things they are doing to grow stronger in spirit, mind and body. Hear from those whose lives have been impacted by the Y and catch a glimpse of the hope, strength and determination of our community!