The unexpected death of 19-year-old Milton native Evan Jones last month dealt a crushing blow to the family and community, but with a fundraising event this Saturday, locals are hoping to keep his memory alive.
The event, named “Exercise for Evan”, will feature a number of games and activities at Milton High School in Jones’s honor, with a fun run, Zumba, boot camp, dodge ball, arm wrestling, a raffle, and more representing the teen’s love of sports and voracious appetite for exercise.
Money raised from the event will go toward a memorial scholarship in Jones’s name.
“Evan found such joy in sports of all kinds,” said mother and School Committee member Kristan Bagley Jones in a release. “He also had such a great sense of humor and would have loved the games, especially the dunking booth and dodge ball. We are so grateful to everyone for coming together to do this for Evan.”
Many are still reeling from the loss of the strong, quiet athlete, who died unexpectedly on Sept. 6 in his dorm room at University of Massachusetts.
Preliminary autopsy results were inconclusive, but family suspect his death had to do with a seizure disorder that Jones was diagnosed with at age 15.
Yet his memory is still strong in the eyes of loved ones. Family friend Carol Rosner described Jones as a smart teen and avid reader who was extremely devoted to his family.
A 2012 graduate from Milton High, Jones was recalled as a thoughtful man that disliked the spotlight, and was motivated by a personal desire to succeed. Since his epilepsy diagnosis, Evan became zealous about health and fitness, and dove into the world of workout routines and protein shakes.
Hosting a day filled with games and exercise seemed fitting, Rosner said.
“They thought this would be a great way to keep his memory alive and do something that reflected his love of exercise and sports,” she said.
Since his passing, Rosner said, the community has showns its support for the family, which also includes Don Jones, his father and former trustee of the Milton Foundation for Education; and sister and current Milton High senior Ally.
“I knew [the town had] good neighbors but I’ve been absolutely astounded at the many, many things that people have done and continue to do,” Rosner said.
People have cooked meals, planted a memorial garden in the Jones’s backyard, even the local gym offered Bagley Jones free personal training to ensure she stayed healthy through the grieving.
With such an outpouring of support, participation in the event is expected to be high, both from the community and beyond.
“I think part of what’s been great and will be great for the Jones’s and everyone else is that it’s an opportunity for everyone to see Evan’s life go on, because we’re all going to be together doing what he loved to do, which was exercise,” Rosner said. “I think it’s great for the Joneses, but all their friends to see that we’re all wrapped up in this community support together. To see it on a field, I assume there will be hundreds of people, that’s powerful to just see that.”
The event will take place on Oct. 12 at Milton high School. Admission is $20 per person, $5 for children 10 and under.
For more information about the event, please email Kathy Huntington at PatKathyH@aol.com or Mary Shapiro firstname.lastname@example.org.