Living Stronger Together

My Y Story: Eirikur Holt


Eirikur Holt

Eirikur Holt, Director of Healthy Living


“Transforming Lives through Health and Wellness” is what the LIVESTRONG at the Y program does, according to Eirikur Holt, Director of Healthy Living. Twice a week for 12-weeks, participants meet for 75 minutes, at no cost for the member. Participants learn how to use the exercise equipment at the Y, as well as try a variety of classes that are meant to help their journey to improved wellbeing after a cancer diagnosis.

Eirikur originally started working as a volunteer in 2009 and became an instructor for LIVESTRONG in 2014. Initially, her plan after college was to work in human resources field. Her current path was unexpected, but after seeing the extraordinary impact the LIVESTRONG program and the Y was having on participants, it was hard not to be inspired by it.

For Eirikur, the real heart of this program is the hurdle of overcoming the diagnosis. Many of those who start the program come in feeling overwhelmed, scared and struggling with the unknown. Their uncertainty and lack of confidence in their ability to control the situation is understandable. The goal is for them to take hold of what they can control and learn to trust their body again so they can be more than a cancer patient.  In her words, she describes it as “Helping people discover a new person in themselves.” Considering the progress many of them make in the 12 weeks, from walking longer to doubling the weight they can lift, the LIVESTRONG at the Y program is empowering people to find that person.

LIVESTRONG participant Elizabeth S. shared, “Cancer brought me to LIVESTRONG, which brought me to the Y. For someone who had never faithfully followed an exercise program, it seems almost miraculous that here I am, nine years on, still at the Y, still exercising, and missing it when I can’t come. Beyond the exercise, I’ve connected with people I’d lost contact with and made new friends. Almost without exception, the instructors have been great, and it’s a comfortable place to be for someone who’s not a “gym rat.” I’m not generally a joiner, but being at the Y works for me.”

LiveStrong GroupEx

In addition to the impact LIVESTRONG has on those who complete the program, Eirikur’s compassion and commitment to the participants as they navigate their “new normal” is what makes it special.  As Anna H shared, “I will forever be grateful to the YMCA for the LIVESTRONG program.  Eirikur puts the LIVE and STRONG in the LIVESTRONG program. This amazing human and her team changed my life.  This program gave me back my hope and joy in the dark aftermath of my cancer journey.  Eirikur’s LIVESTRONG program and her team lifted me up mentally and physically from a place of an unwell being to a living strong being. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Eirikur and LIVESTRONG team.”

LIVESTRONG at the Y has been life changing for those who have gone through the program, and can lead to lasting changes and improvements after a cancer diagnosis.  Nancy P shared the program encompasses so many parts of the cancer journey.  It is “uplifting because the classes, people and instructors boost your spirits. It’s inclusive because the group consists of people who have gone through the same type of journey. It’s supportive because it teaches members how to improve their health.  And it’s life changing because it gives participants a range of exercise and wellbeing options such as pickle ball, yoga, strength training and many more. I think Eirikur is doing a wonderful job along with the other trainers involved.”

A new tradition of LIVESTRONG is that when you graduate from the program, you ring the bell, signifying the end of your journey at the program. Many diagnosed with cancer have rung a bell at different times in their treatment.  This bell ringing is special because it tells the world “I am not defined by my disease. I can look ahead to my new normal with positivity and strength.”  As we prepare this piece for release, there is a ceremony planned for our most recent graduates. It’s fitting that the program ends with a ringing declaration to the world that these lives are stronger than before.


We couldn’t offer these programs if it wasn’t for the generosity of our donors!  Their support allows us to be a safe and trusted place during a most vulnerable time in a person’s life, right after a cancer diagnosis. Because of our donors, we are able to provide a program that gives participants a way to positively focus on their wellbeing during a time when they are managing debilitating treatments.  Won’t you join those donors with a gift today?  Your support means we can reach more people and create a bigger impact on those in our community.  If you or a loved one has faced a cancer diagnosis, you know how frightening that can be.  We’re here for you and hope you’ll consider donating to help those who are just hearing those life-changing words.



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