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Marquette club rugby team honors player diagnosed with cancer

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Edwin Morales is currently undergoing chemotherapy after being diagnosed with stomach cancer. Photo courtesy of Edwin Morales

The Marquette club rugby team is hosting a spaghetti dinner March 27 from 7 to 9 p.m. to fundraise for a teammate with stomach cancer.

Edwin Morales left Marquette after the fall 2014 semester after being diagnosed with cancer. The dinner, at Ruby G’s Espresso Bar & Café on 2043 W. Wells St., will feature live entertainment and all-you-can-eat spaghetti.

“No one really expected (the cancer), so it was a little, I don’t want to say depressing, but it dampened the team definitely,” said Daniel O’Hara, a junior in the College of Business Administration and club rugby team vice president. “So we realized we should do something for him because he has done a lot for us.”

Morales’ diagnosis was announced in a March post on the club’s Facebook page after doctors found a football-sized tumor in his stomach at the beginning of 2015. He has since undergone chemotherapy treatment in his hometown of Los Angeles.

Morales was president-elect of the rugby team before his diagnosis, and was slated to become the club’s president in January 2015. But the team elected Ryan Howell, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, as the new president once they heard of Morales’ illness.

“(Morales) was always the most enthusiastic player,” Howell said. “And he was just a guy that the team could kind of rally around when we needed some morale boost. He was just a great guy on and off the field.”

Howell said the team sold 40 dinner tickets at $10 each by the week before spring break, and can’t sell anymore because the restaurant is at capacity.

“Obviously our teammate is in a bad situation, so we just really want to raise money for him and we figured (a spaghetti dinner) would be the most efficient way to go about doing it,” Howell said. “All-you-can-eat spaghetti is a really good deal.”

The team will also fundraise by selling T-shirts for $15. The shirts say “MURFC” on the front and “Edwin Morales Day” on the back. The team will sell them in the Alumni Memorial Union on March 23 during the afternoon. People who ordered a shirt before spring break can pick it up then as well.

The team will also dedicate its game against Loyola University Chicago to Morales the following day. The game will take place at Kings Field on March 28 at 1 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to wear the Edwin T-shirts.

O’Hara, the rugby club vice president, said the dinner idea came about with the help of Tom Schmitt, the team’s assistant coach and is good friends with the owner of Ruby G’s. O’Hara and Howell discussed doing something for Morales, and Schmidt started planning the spaghetti dinner.

Schmidt was described by O’Hara as a key player in planning the dinner, and as being behind the team setting up an event to raise money for Morales.

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