Nic’s Cradle Challenge is a bike ride in honour and memory of Nic Easton.
Nic was a passionate cyclist who was able to challenge and push himself to reach his goals in cycling and throughout his life. When Nic was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2013, his determination and inner strength enabled him to courageously push through the toughest of times with a positive outlook. Nic highly valued the support of those around him and through open, transparent communication of his medical treatment, used the encouragement and support of others to maintain a fighting spirit during the most challenging of times.
Nic passed away on January 1st 2014 as a result of a lung infection.
You can check out Nic's Twitter account where he tweeted during his treatment for Leukaemia. https://twitter.com/CancerTweetment
How do you encapsulate a life of 26 years that was lived to the max, in a brief bio like this? How do you paint a picture of the person living that life and convey their true personality to a reading audience? The task, realistically speaking, is next to impossible but we think it is worthwhile giving it a go and trying on this website to give you some idea of who Nic Easton was and why we think it is important to honour his memory through the Nic’s Cradle Challenge bike ride.
In attempting to put together something that will most accurately reflect the person that was Nic, we have mainly drawn on the talks given by family members and friends at Nic’s memorial service held in January 2014 together with some of the videos that Nic produced himself. We could have also included a few of the poems he wrote, some of his outstanding artwork, chapters of a sci-fi novel he was writing, letters he wrote to family members while he was overseas and even newspaper cuttings documenting his many publicly acknowledged achievements because they all convey something of who Nic was but these additions would of course make for an overly long bio which you might very well tire of reading.
In essence though, Nic was pretty much of an all rounder. He was artistic, musical, good at sport, an accomplished actor and film maker, a hit with the girls especially his fiancé Jasmin, a true and loyal friend, a loving son and brother, funny, clever, quirky, responsible and caring. He could think outside the box and come up with some amazing ideas, solutions and stories but he was also quite conventional in many ways and wanted to be seen to be doing ‘the right thing’. He was a passionate animal lover and also cared deeply for people who were disadvantaged or victimized in any way. Of course as a human being he wasn’t perfect and had his foibles and wilful ways especially in his younger days. He would throw tantrums at times like most kids do especially if things didn’t go his way but as he grew older and more experienced at life which brought with it success and a greater self-confidence these more negative aspects of his character gradually diminished into the background. It was during his teenage years and particularly during the time he spent in Turkey that he came to realize that by doing good in the world and by being kind and of service to others that he would derive the greatest satisfaction out of life.
In short Nic was a truly admirable human being who contributed greatly to the world in the short time he was with us and was someone who will be greatly missed by all who knew him and loved him.
Nic, who’s full name was Nicholas Peter Easton, was born on 30th December 1987 in Devonport Tasmania to Jo and Ric Easton and was a welcome younger brother for seven year old James (Jo’s son from her previous marriage) and his 11month old sister Georgia. Although a healthy, happy baby at birth it wasn’t long before Nic faced some serious health crises and in fact he nearly died twice from respiratory related issues before he was 18 months old.
Fortunately when Nic was about 20 months old, Jo and Ric found an holistic doctor in Launceston who diagnosed very high levels of Candida caused by the over use of antibiotics and as part of comprehensive non drug related treatment protocol recommended a fairly radical change in his diet which the whole family adopted. This integrative approach resulted in Nic eventually making a wonderful recovery and going on to lead a healthy and fulfilled life until he succumbed to leukaemia in early 2013. He eventually died from respiratory failure on New Year’s Day 2014, aged 26, following treatment for his cancer that had included a successful bone marrow transplant from Georgia.
Talks by Nic’s Mum Jo and sister Georgia at Nic’s Memorial Service on 9th January 2014 held in the Sheffield District High School Hall
It’s wonderful to see so many of you here today to help us celebrate Nic’s life. (There were over 300 people at the service).
We had a smaller celebration in Adelaide last Friday night for his work colleagues and Uni friends and I thought that was amazing enough in itself with around 80 people turning up given only 24 hours notice of it being on. Such is the power of social media.
Nic hadn’t lived at home for almost 9 years and as a parent it’s not always easy to gauge how your children are really travelling as they create a new life for themselves away from the family home.
It was wonderful to talk to the many people there who valued Nic so highly as a work colleague and friend. ( Nic was working as an occupational therapist at Guide Dogs in South Australia).
As parents we have always been proud of Nic and but we have also been truly grateful that he was even still in our lives given the rocky start he had as a baby.
In fact Nic nearly died twice before he was 18 months old and both times the cause was related to respiratory issues, which was what finally claimed his life just over a week ago.
Fortunately we found a doctor in Launceston who identified that Nic had a number of food allergies related to the over use of antibiotics which were causing him problems and with a fairly radical change in diet which the whole family went on, Nic was able to make a wonderful recovery and go on to lead the healthy and fulfilled life he did until he succumbed to leukaemia last year.
Being born less than a year apart Nic and Georgia were great pals right from the time they could interact together. James who is 7 years older than Georgia was living with his Dad interstate but visited often.
Nic and Georgia started school at Sheffield area school in the same year – 1991. We could have enrolled Georgia a year earlier but we felt that Nic wouldn’t have coped too well being at home by himself without his best playmate and friend.
Nic did well at school right from the start and by the time he had finished his schooling at Sheffield which was at the end of Grade 10 he had collected a swag of prizes and awards too numerous to list here except to say that he won the prize for being the most outstanding student at the end of primary school and again at the end of high school. He was elected a house captain and was a student representative on the School Council. He was also a member of the local council sponsored youth organization known as Kentish Youth Support.
Nic was an okay sportsperson in his earlier years playing cricket and hockey for the school and later table tennis with his Dad at a club in Devonport. He also played indoor cricket during the winter. He loved cricket right from the start and although he was no great shakes as a batsman started to show real prowess as a bowler putting a lot of time and effort into trying to develop what he called his Shane Warne type spin.
Where Nic really shone right from an early age was in his acting and performing and in the arts generally. As a big sister of such a talented actor, I can see that his early life was an important training ground. For example:
- When I wanted to play schools – Nic was my student (along with all our teddies).
- When I wanted a little sister, Nic would have to dress up in girls clothes to become Nicola (Nic if you are out there I have spared you and not brought any of those photos today).
- When we wanted a bit of extra pocket money – Nic and I would rehearse a show and perform it to Mum and Dad. Their bed was our stage. We charged 20 cents per ticket.
The beginning of Nic’s acting and filming started with cassette tapes and mum and dad recording us talking and singing when we were both under 2 years old. Listening to the tapes yesterday I laughed, as Nic was clearly impressed when we could play back what had been recorded. Consequentially there is a little voice in the tape recorder saying “again, again” and then him crying when mum and dad were trying to explain that he needed to record things before being able to listen to himself.
Nic and I attended Ann Beeke’s drama studio, Studio B here in Sheffield (Ann is here today) not long after we started school and were involved in a number of plays and performances.
In 1998 Nic joined me in the Crescendo Choir. The choir staged a number of performances while he was involved including ‘A Kids Summer Night’s Dream’ in 1999 where he played Bottom and the ‘The Pinafore Pirates’ in 2001 where he played the Sorcerer. He was outstanding in both of those roles.
When Nic was in Grade 7, Bron Lee who is also here today took the initiative to involve a group of local children in the writing and staging of a production called the ‘Princess and the Pendant’ that played to an enthusiastic audience in the Town Hall in 2000. Nic played Wacko the clown and did a fantastic job. He had also been part of the group of local kids who, under the guidance of the Second Storey Theatre Group from Launceston staged short plays in front of some of Sheffield’s murals during the 1999 Mt Roland Folklore Fest.
Again in 2000 both Georgia and Nic and I became involved in the Lions Club Music Hall and Nic and three of his friends performed a dance routine on two more occasions in 2003 and 2004. (That dance group which also included Cohen, Josh and Jeremy Williams eventually became known as ‘Gravity’ went on to win competitions and perform at many functions and fundraisers throughout Tasmania over the next few years.)
While he was still at school Nic developed an avid interest in making videos and bought himself a video camera with his pocket money. He was even appointed the school’s official recorder of events such as sport’s and presentation days.
These early years were so full and set the stage for the next 10 years of Nic’s life. It has been so difficult condensing such a full early life into so few words but I hope it has given you at least some idea of how involved in life he was even from an early age.
Nic’s other earlier creative pursuits are too great to mention here. Those that were lucky enough to know Nic during these earlier years will no doubt have their own memories of his infectious personality and creative endeavours. Those who got to know him later – put his personality into a cheeky 10 year old and you can imagine the fun that we had together growing up.
In 2005 Nic was approached by the Kentish Lions Club to be involved in the Lions ‘Youth of the Year’ competition. Nic won both the ‘Youth of the Year’ and the speaking competition at our local club here in Sheffield and then went on to again win the regional final and the speaking competition in Devonport and eventually represented the North West at the State final in Launceston. He didn’t win the final but did an amazing job given that he had had no sleep the night before and had just arrived back from Sydney on the 6am flight that morning. Nic’s speech was about making the most of life and following up on opportunities when they presented themselves. As you will see today, Nic well and truly lived by his words and even though his life was cut short he undoubtedly made the very, very most it. (Nic and Cohen had been invited to Sydney to check out a film school run by a film director they had met while working on one of his productions here in Tasmania. The boys both helped in the film making process and worked as extras on the film, which was set in the hydro town of Rosbery on the West Coast.
The following account of Nic’s adult life is based on the presentation given at his celebration by his best friend Cohen Williams.
Intro to Oliver and Nic’s performing
Well, as we all know, Nic was so very much a performer in every aspect of his life. If you gave him a chance to take on a persona, a character or to just goof off on stage, he would take it and boy would he put on a show. Ever since he was mini Nic he has been acting and performing, and as the years went on he took on more challenging and exciting roles in all kinds of productions. Easily his most memorable performance, as I am sure you would all agree, was his role as Fagin in the Don College production of ‘Oliver’. With the outstanding direction of Shane Wolfe and Keren Smithies, Nic honed in on this character down to the finest points and put on a performance that enthralled his peers and the audience alike. At times you would have to remind yourself that it was actually Nic on stage, and not some seedy, crafty old dude with a workforce of pick-pocketing, homeless children.
Following the completion of Year Twelve at Don College where he won a number of subject awards and earned enough points to be accepted into just about any university course he chose, Nic decided to do something quite different and applied to become a Rotary Exchange Student for twelve months in Turkey. The timing wasn’t good from one point of view in that he had just struck a friendship with fellow student Jasmin but fortunately Jasmin was prepared to wait for him and the two of them conducted their long distance romance via letter and email while he was away experiencing a very different way of life to the one he had been used to here in Australia.
A tribute to Nic written by a Turkish school friend.
When Nic came to Samsun he made us so happy. He always had a smile and he was such a sincere person. He was very tall. He was an entertainer. He loved to dance and to record us all on the camera. Nic used to call me 'Tasmanian Devil'. We used to dance to Turkish songs. We used to go on rides on the school bus, we had lots of fun. I was always by Nic's side, I never left him. He became my closest friend. The city of Samsun loves Nic very much. The love of Turks is unparaleled. I will never forget him. Jasmin is Nic's gift to us. I will always be by Jasmin's side.
Cohen continues with more about Nic’s adult life.
After returning from Turkey, Nic and Jasmin lived together in Devonport for a year. During this time they worked, travelled, and saved to move interstate to attend the University of South Australia.
After meeting a charming Occupational Therapist over dinner one night, to the surprise of many, Nic decided to join Jasmin at Uni and also study to become an Occupational Therapist.
Nic and Jasmin studied and lived together for the next 4 years, and were rarely seen apart. During this time they were fortunate to undertake a final year placement together where they implemented a Community Development Project at Nic’s future employer Guide Dogs of South Australia and the Northern Territory.
On the very last day of Uni, where everyone was presenting on as aspect of Uni or OT Nic and Jasmin choose to reflect on their time at Uni together through a video presentation.
As we all know Nic was a friend like no other. Despite living interstate Nic was able to maintain daily contact and friendship with Sheffield school friend Jared Ling. As well as achieving academically (Nic won the Uni of S.A. Medal for the School of Allied Health Professions in his final year), Nic and Jared excelled in the online domain with the creation of a highly successful Minecraft Role Play Server called Tales of Mel-Lenxia.
This server not only involved the creation of the story line and game rules but also the virtual Minecraft landscape itself.
Here is a trailer of the server, made by Nic and Jared. It has had over 65,000 views on YouTube.
A tribute to Nic written by a player of Mel-Lenxia and also a friend.
"When I watched the trailer for Mel-Lenxia I knew it was exactly what I had been looking for. After playing for the first time I knew it was so much more. Through Mel-Lenxia I met some of the most brilliant and interesting people from all around the world. One of those people was Nic.
Both of our characters were leaders of opposing nations at war. Nic was the military leader of Mel-Lenxia, and I was the leader of the rebel nation Meloria. To the citizens of Mel-Lenxia it appeared that our hate and rivalry knew no bounds, but over Skype our relationship couldn't be any further from the truth. Nic and I shared many of the same passions including new music, creating epic quests, and getting stuck on beautiful existential ideas and tangents.
While I never had the chance to meet Nic in person, I still feel his loss in Minnesota. And while you haven't met me, I still hope that you can feel my presence and love there in Adelaide.
Nic, I'm going to miss your musical suggestions and your creative vision. I'm going to miss catching up with you on Skype. But probably most of all, I'm going to miss your enthusiasm and ambition for creation. Goodbye, and thank you for everything."
Working/ Professional Life
After graduating from Uni, Nic was offered a job as an OT at Guide Dogs working with people who were blind or vision impaired. Nic loved working at Guide Dogs as he had many young enthusiastic colleagues, a puppy garden to have lunch in, and dogs that sat around the office under people’s desks every single day. This was especially appealing to Nic as he had been a great animal lover all his life. Nic’s interpersonal skills and ability to work as part of a team made him a highly valued team member. In early 2013 Nic continued to use his video making skills to produce a video depicting his work department ‘Vision Services’. This video premiered on Valentine’s Day last year and won the entire team an award at their Awards and Recognition Night.
Filming, values and friendship
There were over 20 edited videos of Nic’s that we could have shared with you all today. The final one we will share with you, however, is a film clip Nic and Jasmin made for a friend’s band. The band requested the film clip for a tour of China where the video was shown at their gigs and shows.
The final segment of this Bio comes from Ric’s presentation at Nic’s memorial service.
No parent wants to bury their child. Every parent dreads the possibility of it happening. But here we are today, having to do just that. Even in the final week of his life while he was slowly fading away we refused to believe this could happen. We held hope right to the end and we believed that his condition would eventually turn around. Nic maintained his fight, his strength and his courage right to the end.
Not only did Nic have Acute Myeloid Leukaemia but he had the most aggressive form of it that could still be treated. The doctors told us that the bone marrow transplant treatment he had was the most invasive treatment that the medical profession has to offer. But Nic took it all in his stride, dealt with every challenge and set back, and maintained a mostly positive attitude right to the end.
He achieved top marks in all the subjects of his uni degree and was quite embarrassed when he won the university medal for the entire faculty of related health professions in his final year. From what the uni lecturers told us at the wake held for him in Adelaide they had never had a student like him.
We truly believe that Nic could have been anything he wanted to be. His true passion lay in acting. He could deliver a performance second to none as evidenced by his role as Fagin in ‘Oliver’ and certainly would have been a successful professional actor. In fact he had just scored a minor role in a semi professional company’s version of ‘Oliver’ a matter of weeks before he was diagnosed. Nic was a very good cyclist and also showed promise as a tennis player, a game he had taken up after he left school. He knew how he could have earned a lot more money than he was in his job - yet he chose a profession where he could help people.
According to the people at Guide Dogs where he worked as O.T. he went above and beyond what was required when helping his clients.
Nic acted on his own beliefs and values, which were not based on any set belief system. He simply wanted to do what he believed was good and what was right.
There have been real positives that have come out of this experience. We got to tell Nic how much we loved him on and almost daily basis. Nic died knowing we all loved him. Over the last ten months we became even closer as a family than we were. We have also drawn closer to Jasmin and her family.
People have said to us they want to dedicate their lives to doing the good things Nic would have surely done this if his life had not been cut short in this tragic way. So let us all go from here and resolve to make the world a better place in honour of Nic. I am certain that this is what he would have wanted us to do. So let us all be thankful that we had this time with Nic. He touched each of us in a very special way. We believe he truly was a gift from God.