Evanfest: More Than Just Lacrosse

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Sean Christman

Lacrosse event marks its 8th year with continued success and remembrance of a beloved Friar

“The way Evan Brady conducted himself is an inspiration to anyone who will ever put on a Malvern lacrosse jersey.” These are the words of Malvern’s own Mr. Jamie Wasson. This year marks the 8th anniversary of Evanfest, an all-day lacrosse event held at Malvern. Teams from all over the area come to Malvern’s campus to play against one another for a good cause.

Evanfest is held in memoriam of Evan Brady, a Malvern student and lacrosse player who battled cancer while attending our school. After Evan’s fight with cancer sadly ended in 2005, the Evanfest organization was started. The organization helps to provide financial support to families who have a child with cancer. For the past 8 years, there has also been a day-long event held at Malvern, focused on Evan’s story and a day of youth lacrosse.

Teams from all over the area come to play in this event, and this year’s Evanfest included youth programs such as Coventry, Lionville, Radnor, West Chester, and more. Malvern’s middle school teams also play in the event.

 

This year, Evanfest was held on April 12. Volunteers began arriving as early as 6:30 A.M., to help set up with parking, among other things. As the day progressed into the morning, vendors began to arrive on campus. In addition to tents about the Evanfest organization itself, there were tents set up with raffle items, and an enormous food tent. All of the proceeds from the raffle and the food are given to the Evanfest organization, which is then used to help families who have a child with cancer. The food is largely prepared by the same volunteers who work in the tent, in addition to local businesses. Raffle items are often donated by Malvern graduates, and this year they included autographed items from the Naval Academy, Team USA, and the Philadelphia Wings.

While many Malvern students, parents, and alumni volunteer their time to work at Evanfest, there are plenty of people in the lacrosse community with no ties to Malvern who just want to help out. One volunteer, a Ridley graduate, simply stated, “I’m here because I want to be a part of this”. This simple statement reflects the attitudes of many of the people who come to work and be a part of the event. The story of Evan Brady is a powerful one, and it inspires a wide range of people to want to help out.

“I think Evanfest has had a great impact on both the team and the school,” said Mr. Wasson, an English teacher and lacrosse coach at Malvern, “Evanfest itself impacts the school in a tremendous way for getting young men on campus. Young players, who have never heard of Malvern, might leave the campus after Evanfest and say, ‘I want to go to Malvern.’”

Mr. Wasson had the opportunity to get to know Evan Brady while working in the Dean of Students’ office during Evan’s time at Malvern. “I got to see Evan on his good days and his bad days.  It was here that I developed my true respect and admiration for his fight,” he said.

“He had such a quiet confidence about himself and always had a smile on his face,” said Wasson. “I would try to put myself in his shoes and wonder how I could act the way he did. I would always come to the conclusion that I couldn’t”.

These words, from someone who knew Evan well, truly sum up everything that the Evanfest event and organization are about. Determination, hard work, and never giving up were intrinsic qualities of Evan Brady, and that legacy continues to live on today.

If you would like to know more about Evanfest or would like to donate to the organization, you can visit evanfest.com.