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Evans Scholars host fifth St. Baldrick’s to fund cancer research

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For Devlin Gray, a 2013 Marquette graduate, this coming April is more than just warm weather and sunny skies — it’s his 20th anniversary of being cancer free.

Gray battled with cancer since he was 11 months old. After entering remission for over three years, he relapsed when he was four-and-a-half.

During his first year on campus, Gray was inspired to bring St. Baldrick’s to Marquette, a foundation that funds childhood cancer research and hosts fundraisers that encourage people to shave their heads in support of those who lose their hair in chemotherapy treatment.

Marquette’s Evans Scholars hosted its fifth annual St. Baldrick’s event this Saturday.

“It’s meaningful to me that some kids will lose their hair and they don’t know why, but then they see this and we’re supporting them,” said Matteo Brucato, a sophomore in the College of Engineering, who shaved his head at the event.

Brucato was first introduced to St. Baldrick’s as a junior in high school. A member on a swim team, he shaved his head down to the skin. After discontinuing swimming, he still found himself wanting to shave his head, but not just to do it. He wanted to do it for a good cause.

“I just love doing it because it’s something I can do,” he said. “It’s not really, at least for me, it’s not really difficult to lose my hair.”

Marty Kelly has been head coordinator of the event for the past two years, originally getting involved in it because he wanted to have a leadership role in the Evans House and on Marquette’s campus.

Marquette’s St. Baldrick’s events have collected $77,000 so far, with the goal for 2015 to pull in $20,000.

Kelly emphasized the most important aspect of the event was having a good time and enjoying Saturday’s spring weather.

“The total amount of money is never really that important for us; it’s really just about the event,” he said. “Having everyone come out and just have a good time. You know, as you can see, it’s just a great turnout and we have a really nice day too.”

Liz Ferreira was one of the few women who decided to take the leap in shaving her head completely.

Ferreria explained several of her family members died of cancer and she wanted to help in some way. She described the experience as a “blast” and enthusiastically said she will definitely do it again.

“Hopefully, more girls will help too,” she said.

A letter written by a classmate, and close friend to Gray, kicked off the event, describing Gray and his accomplishments.

“That crazy Marquette leprechaun — he convinced people to shave their head to raise money from their friends and family and to join us on the day of the event,” the letter said. “And needless to say the event was, and still is, an overwhelming success. That’s the product of Devlin’s enthusiasm.”

Kelly McInerney co-chaired with Kelly for the second year. McInerney said both her and Kelly are extremely close with Gray and are honored to carry on the tradition he began.

“It was so special to him and we just wanted to carry that on for him after he graduated and its been a lot of fun, a lot of work,” Mcinerney said, pausing to smile. “But this is my favorite day of the year.”

Gray said the event has more participants and raises more money each year.

“Looking at it as a whole, it’s just amazing to see that something can be popular like this from, you know, us just starting it five years ago and it’s almost become kind of a staple here in the Marquette community,” he said.

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