By Russ Atkinson
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/23/11
Twenty-six boys’ youth boys’ lacrosse teams from the Delaware Valley competed all day Sunday in the Fifth Annual Evanfest charity tournament at Malvern Prep as hundreds of players and supporters celebrated the life of Evan Brady, a Malvern student athlete who enjoyed lacrosse and living life despite a serious illness.
Evan Brady was a graduate of Malvern Prep who lost his fight with osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer) on September 21, 2005. Lacrosse was a large part of Evan’s life. He played for Rose Tree Optimist Youth Club prior to entering Malvern in the fall of 2001 and when he was diagnosed with bone cancer on September 11, 2001, he was told he would no longer be able to play lacrosse.
For any other teenager this would have been devastating news, but for Evan this was just a roadblock to overcome in his life. He seized this moment to embrace lacrosse and become a coach and mentor for his friends and teammates. Malvern Prep and the greater Philadelphia lacrosse communities were huge supporters of Evan, both spiritually and financially, motivating him to fight every day of his life.
In honor of Evan’s spirit and will to overcome life’s greatest obstacles, Evanfest was created. Run by his father, Bill Brady, the event has raised over $400,000 in funds that go directly to families that have a child with a life-threatening illness.
Through Brady’s leadership and the help of countless volunteers and many of Evan’s friends that have sold Evanfest T-shirts and helped organize fundraisers, Evan’s spirit and message continues to spread.
“Today was a great, happy day,” said Bill Brady. “I am honored this has continued. There are so many people that want to support this. I am honored we do this in Evan’s memory.”
Sunday’s event was held after the originally scheduled event was postponed five weeks earlier due to inclement weather. The new date allowed many more of Evan’s classmates and former teammates (he graduated Malvern Prep in 2005) to attend.
Already, many of Evan’s former classmates and former teammates as well as his friends return each year to serve as volunteers for the event. It is a testament to Evan’s contributions as a role model to them and an example to all.
Some of these former classmates have led a tremendous t-shirt drive the past three years. The shirts have been sold on many college campuses where friends have continued to tell their new friends of Evan’s legacy.
“The Brady family has put a lot of hard work into this,” said Tom Dunn an ’05 classmate of Evan’s. “A lot of families are involved here and I am hoping it goes on and keeps Evan’s number (19) alive for a long time.”
Bill Brady wished to credit Malvern Prep and its community, especially the Layne, Dunn, Creighton, Savelloni, Quercetti, Osboure and O’Connell familes for their unwavering support of Evanfest.
Evident by the turnout of U15 and U13 teams, Evanfest had 10 teams on the waiting list. Evanfest is likely to be a fixture at MP for many years.
“Hopefully with all the construction going on we’ll have more fields to play on next year,” Brady said. “We had five (fields) this year and hopefully we’ll have more teams we can take.
“Malvern meant so much to us. Evan was meant to be here… it was just fate.”
For more information about Evanfest, go to the Evanfest website at http://evanfest.com/ or the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/#!/home.php?sk=group_175996345932
For more information on the Evanfest t-shirt sales drive, click here.