Get To Know Us – Michael Maffei

Michael Maffei has been a member of our Y for two and one-half years since he transferred from the Norwalk Y when it closed. Originally from the Bronx, he moved to Yonkers and then settled in Norwalk in the mid-1990’s. My image of him, imprinted in my mind, is not of Michael going to and from the pool or the Wellness Center which he does a few times per week…but of him being rushed to the hospital, strapped onto a gurney and into an ambulance. “The onset of my heart attack occurred while I was working out in the lap pool this past June.”

Michael has loved swimming since he was a young boy and it remains a favorite activity. Upon retiring in the spring of 2015 from his 35-plus year career at the New York State Insurance Department he was determined to lose some weight and get back in shape and, having toured our brand new facility, was happy to become a member and devote three to four days per week to swimming laps and using the treadmill, Life Fitness and Expresso Bikes. Although he successfully lost 20 lbs., Michael tells me that in addition to still being overweight, he has a family history of heart disease which were both contributing factors to his heart attack.

“I remember feeling a painful burning sensation in my chest while swimming in the lap pool.”

He was able to get to the shallow end, go to the locker room, take a shower and get dressed but the burning pain started up again accompanied by nausea and he started to sweat profusely. Michael managed to come up to the membership desk and asked staff to please call for an ambulance. Several staff members spoke to him in an effort to keep him calm and conscious while waiting for EMS.

“I credit the YMCA staff and their quick actions for helping to save my life.”

Upon arriving at Norwalk Hospital, he was sent straight to surgery where they found two blockages and inserted stents. Michael was only in the hospital for two days and the surgeon attributed his quick recovery partly due to the fact that he had been swimming and exercising regularly at the Y. Although he needed rehab for three months, Michael was able to come back to the Y and has continued to lose more weight, an additional 15 lbs. plus make changes in his diet to lower his cholesterol levels.

Although dialing 911 is never something any of the Y staff delights in doing…thankfully, it saved a life and Michael Maffei is healthier and happier than ever.

Every day, in thousands of places, each Y is serving a different us. In times of crisis, in times of need, and sometimes, just because.

Members like Michael are committed to working together to strengthen our community and help build a better us.

The Y. For a better us.


Profile written by Midge Deverin, Membership Engagement.