Kicking it Up for Kyla Together: The Importance of Community in 2020

Kyla Kesterson was an ESP participant who loved all things purple and butterflies, and though she never spoke a word, she spread joy and love so easily to everyone around her. She attended ESP’s first ever Big Hearts back in 2008 and soon became an ESP regular, attending many programs and summer camps over the years. Kyla loved to dress up and was so excited to come to ESP that she would stay up all night before camp started. ESP was truly her favorite place. A little over a year ago, we lost Kyla – but we certainly didn’t lose the impact she had on us all. 

The Kestersons are still a strong part of the ESP community with Cathy, Kyla’s mom, serving as ESP’s Special Events Coordinator and Ben, Kyla’s little brother, serving over the summers as a counselor. The Kick it Up for Kyla team was started by Cathy as a way to remember and honor her daughter by continuing to do something they had always done together: walking and running.

Over the course of her weight loss journey, Cathy pushed Kyla and her wheelchair thousands of miles and Cathy’s dream was to one day push Kyla in a half marathon. While that didn’t happen, Cathy is still continuing her running journey for Kyla. Last year, the Kick it Up for Kyla team came together for the first time, and we’re so excited to see the team do the same this year.

This year, the Kick it Up for Kyla team is being challenged to run 22 miles over the course of October since Kyla would have turned 22 this year. In addition to this, our runners are being challenged to raise $200 for the place that Kyla loved most, ESP. This money will go directly to family programs that are desperately needed right now by our ESP community. On November 1st, our team will gather to celebrate the end of a marathon month, literally!

Joining the Kick it Up for Kyla team is more than just running or fundraising – though those are big parts of it! More than anything else, this team exists to honor the strong legacy that Kyla left and help to create the experiences that she was able to have here at ESP for other participants.

You can join the Kick it Up for Kyla team here and receive community, encouragement, and maybe even a fitness boost! Registration is open until September 30th and we are counting down the days until an outstanding October.