By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/12/15
Temple basketball coach Fran Dunphy knows a lot about accepting challenges – after all, his Owls face a monumental test Friday when they open their 2015-16 season against No. 1 North Carolina.
But on Wednesday night as guest speaker at the 4th Annual EVANFEST Banquet at Drexelbrook Catering, Dunphy spoke about how Malvern Prep’s Evan Brady took on the biggest challenge – cancer.
Dunphy, a Malvern Prep graduate who is one of a few NCAA Division I coaches to reach 500 career wins, said he asked legendary teacher-coach-administrator Jim Stewart to tell him about what Evan Brady meant to Malvern Prep.
“Jim told me a whole list of things about Evan,” Dunphy told the large gathering of over 300 people. “When Evan first learned the news going into the summer of his freshman year at Malvern that the MRI showed he was sick, it’s a tremendous and inspiring story about how tough this kid is, how courageous he is and how spiritual he is.
“He never talked about himself. He always talked about others. I love to be inspired. When you start thinking about Evan Brady, what you you doing is keeping his (legacy) alive.”
Dunphy said being involved in EVANFEST was an honor. That’s big praise coming from a high-profile D1 college coach who is a leader in the local Coaches vs. Cancer campaign and was named to the National Council of Coaches vs. Cancer for his many years of helping raise money for cancer causes.
EVANFEST, through the banquet and the popular spring youth tournament, has raised over $900,000 and helped 225 families that have a child with a life-threatening disease. All money raised goes directly to the families; the foundation is run by volunteers, many of which are from Malvern Prep and were friends or teammates of Evan.
Evan Brady was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer) just before entering Malvern Prep as freshman and died shortly after graduating on September 21, 2005.
One of the speakers was Evan’s father, Bill Brady, who spoke about how the Malvern Prep community helped him create EVANFEST so other families that endured what his family suffered would have support. The emcee was again witty US Lacrosse Hall of Famer Brian Dougherty, the head coach at Chestnut Hill Academy and a former college and pro great. Dougherty talked about how EVANFEST helped one of his players, Shane Franzone, and his mother, deal with a rare blood disorder.
Dunphy spoke about how Evan Brady never focused on his problems; only everybody else’s
“Jim talked about Even and how unselfish he was.” said Dunphy. “(Bad) things would happen to him throughout his disease and he never talked about it – he always talked about other people.
“One time Jim’s wife, Mary, was very sick and Jim visited Evan and Evan wouldn’t allow Jim to talk about Even. He would only let him talk about Mary and her fight. This scene repeated over and over again.
“I often say to my (players) all the time that it would be nice if life always had an upward curve and never any dips or never never any difficulties – but there are going to be trials and tribulations. If you can tell the story of the Evan Bradys of the world, you have a (better) chance.”
In an interview with Phillylacrosse.com, Dunphy said he was impressed with the longtime community effort to build EVANFEST into a major fund-raising effort with an all-volunteer staff.
“The lacrosse community – as big as it is – is small in terms that when somebody is in a little bit of trouble, they support them. It’s a great lacrosse world out there in Philadelphia; it’s like if something happened to one of their own, they will protect them and nurture them. That is what is happening to raise money to help people that go through what the Bradys went through.”