Our YMCA invites you to the Easton Mills Memorial Challenge

The Easton Mills Memorial Challenge was created in 2018 to honor the memory of Lake Norman YMCA member, Easton Mills.

Guest Contributor Erik Walsingham shares about his connection to community at the Lake Norman YMCA and what the upcoming Easton Mills Memorial Challenge is all about.

Having moved to Cornelius 9 years ago away from my friends and family, I quickly got involved in the community and in the YMCA.  For me that was easy, it was my job. However, the relationships that I gained through work and through the community are forever special.  During my time with the YMCA, I was ridiculously blessed to have a brief encounter with this beautiful little girl, Easton Mills, and just as blessed to share a friendship with her mother Liz.  A few years ago, with her husband and two children, Liz moved to Cornelius for her husband’s job. Knowing that she needed to get connected, she immediately joined the Lake Norman YMCA and the Functional/Small Group Training classes.  Liz would drop her son, Grant, off at school as she and her daughter, Easton, would head to the Y. Easton would bounce into Childwatch every day with a perfectly placed large bow on her head of blonde hair and Liz would join her workout crew.  They both found their community and people to share parts of their life with.

The Beloved Easton Mills (photo: courtesy of @eastonchallenge on Instagram)

A few months later, Easton suddenly passed away from an aggressive brain tumor.  With such an incredible loss for this beautiful family and those who encountered Easton, I was amazed to see Liz remain so strong and involved in her community.  A year after, Liz and her husband wanted to honor Easton’s memory by doing something fun with her workout friends and supporting something Easton loved. Easton loved attending the Y’s Childwatch program while Liz worked out each day.  So, the Easton Mills Memorial Challenge became a 4-part workout to for every level of fitness to participate with a goal to support the YMCA’s Send-a-Kid to Camp program. Each workout is under 20 minutes and can be modified to different abilities and fitness levels.  While you can compete in the Gold, Silver and Bronze categories, you can also perform the workouts for fun and to support a great cause.

Liz Mills and Julie Doerr. Julie plans the workout challenge, suitable for ALL fitness levels
(photo: courtesy of @eastonchallenge on Instagram)

The EMMC is an annual event that is incredibly special to me.  I barely knew this little girl but the joy that she brought into the YMCA was well-known and her mother had become a great workout buddy.  The Y is the place where I found all of my best relationships and friends. I love to see that it has also had the same impact, if not greater, on others in the community.  Shortly after Easton’s passing, friends were visiting Liz and her husband. It was such a blessing to see so many people from the YMCA there to support their family. It is an even greater blessing to see the community come together to join this family in a fun workout while supporting programs that Easton loved.
-E. Walsingham

WHAT: The Easton Mills Memorial Challenge
WHERE: Lake Norman YMCA, (21300 Davidson St) with an after party celebration, all are welcome and encouraged to attend, at Brick Row at Oak St Mill, (19725 Oak St 28031)
WHEN: Saturday, April 27 Challenge: (8:00 am- 12:00 pm) and After-Party Celebration: (3:00 pm-5:00 pm)
COST: $50 and proceeds go to fund the YMCA “Send a Kid to Camp” program in honor of Easton’s love for the “Y Kids” programs she attended.
HOW: register at the YMCA or online at this link: Easton Mills Memorial Challenge Online Registration.

The after-party will be complete with music, dancing, and refreshments available from our friends at Gogi Food Truck, and all are welcome to attend. You need not to be part of the morning challenge to attend the after-party.

Easton was a vibrant and spirited 2-year-old little girl with a larger than life personality and a love for the Lake Norman YMCA. She would bounce into the Y every morning with a perfectly placed bow in her hair and an infectious smile on her face. Easton’s desire at a young age to help others endeared her to anyone who had the opportunity to meet her.

Sadly, on May 5, 2017, Easton passed away suddenly from a very rare and aggressive ATRT brain tumor. Her family and her YMCA family were shocked by her passing. Those that loved her wanted to honor her spirit, but also help kids in our community enjoy the Lake Norman YMCA that Easton loved so much.

The Easton Mills Memorial Challenge is a four part workout challenge with a goal to raise money and awareness for the Send-a-Kid to Camp Scholarship fund. The workout is designed for participants with varying levels of fitness and finds the right balance of competition and community. Trainers for the event not only structure the workout, but also encourage the participants to achieve their best.

Workout is designed for every fitness level
(photo: courtesy of @eastonchallenge on Instagram)

Timeline for the event on April 27, 2019:

8:00 AM- Check-In

8:30 AM- Opening Ceremonies

9:00 AM- Easton Mills Memorial Workout Challenge starts

11:40 AM- Closing Ceremonies

3:00 PM — 5:00 PM- Celebration at Brick Row, Oak St Mill, 19725 Suite 9, Oak St 28031
ALL ARE WELCOME (you need not be a participant in the Challenge to join in on the after party)

*Online Registration closes on 4/25/19.


A video produced by the Lake Norman YMCA:

OTC is quickly becoming a hub for a vibrant and flourishing arts scene. We tell the stories relevant to you: our residents, our visitors, our family and our friends.