By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/17/16
Mike Creighton’s eyes began to light up when he recited how much money EVANFEST has raised in its 10 years.
“The 10 years and one million dollars are two huge numbers,” said Creighton, one of well over 150 volunteers at today’s 10th annual EVANFEST at Malvern Prep. “What’s really great to see is the growth of this event along with the growth of the game.
“To see how many different teams, from all over the place are here, is amazing. And to see the amount of support from Malvern Prep and volunteers. It’s something special.”
Creighton graduated from Malvern Prep in 2006 and became a captain and star defenseman at Notre Dame. He was one year behind Evan Brady while at Malvern and described Evan as a role model and leader whose impact was felt on the field and in all areas of his life.
Evan Brady was a graduate of Malvern Prep who lost his fight with osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer) on September 21, 2005. He was a youth lacrosse standout who was unable to play high school lacrosse due to his disease, but remained involved in the sport by serving as a coach and mentor to many.
In its 10th year, the EVANFEST tourney has grown from 22 to 47 squads (grades 5 through 8) that competed Saturday. The tournament has continued to grow because of the hordes of volunteers (as well as facility and concession donations by Malvern Prep) that give their time to a foundation that gives all proceeds raised to families that have a child with a life-threatening illness. Over 235 families have received aid totaling almost $1 million through EVANFEST.
The Malvern Prep community deserves a lot of the credit, according to Bill Brady, Evan’s father and the event founder. He says the event, as well as the popular November EVANFEST Banquet, succeed because so many of Evan’s friends and classmates have taken key roles in organizing, planning and running the events.
Creighton credits Brady, wife Patrice and son Drew: “The Bradys are a special family and it’s easy to rally around them.”
“But I think we also rally around the families that are helped. The best part is when you are sitting at work on a Wednesday and you get en e-mail forward from Mr. Brady with a story about a family that received a couple thousand dollars to pay for a car bill or their utilities and you read the emotion (of how they were helped).
“That’s something special!”
How did Evan affect Creighton’s life?
“He had a huge impact on my life, in lacrosse and in the world,” Creighton said. “He was someone to look up to. You think about how many kids have played in this event and that have gone on to play in high school and college and how many come back to volunteer.
“The sheer number of people that Evan has impacted is amazing. He touched so many people; he comes from a special family and to see 10 years later what his impact has caused and how the Brady family has kept in place is something special.”
Drew Brady, who starred at Penncrest (2007 graduate) and later played at Stevenson, said the true judge of his brother’s impact is seen in the longevity of the event.
“It’s great,” he said. “I don’t think when we started anything thought we’d be at a million dollars in 10 years. And it keeps getting bigger. People are still willing to come out and help; that proves this is a great cause.
“They donate money, and all their time. It’s great to keep his memory alive and it shows how many people he touched. It does take a lot of time and effort to keep putting it on and to ask people to continuously give money year after year.”