SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

May 12, 2014

Doing It For Dennis

Former classmates to run 100-mile race for memorial fund

Drew Quigley and Nick Raby know that if their best friend, Dennis Casagrande, were here, he’d tell them that they were a little crazy for running a 100-mile race this weekend.

But they’re determined to do it anyway.

Casagrande, a 2007 graduate of Bishop Fenwick High School, was tragically killed two years ago as a pedestrian in a motor vehicle accident.

His friends and former classmates, Raby and Quigley, made the decision earlier this year to run in the seventh annual Keys 100, a 100-mile race that starts in Key Largo, Fla. and ends in Key West. The race is a 24-hour event. It will take place this Saturday and finish on Sunday.

“Dennis would 100 percent tell us we’re stupid for doing this,” noted Quigley. “He would make fun of us for training so much and not fishing instead, especially at the ungodly hour of 4 a.m. He would also 100 percent be the man in the rental car, helping us out the entire run.”

Raby and Casagrande met in kindergarten and lived two miles apart from each other in Danvers growing up; Quigley met Casagrande freshman year of high school while playing on the baseball team together. All three were always outside together — fishing, golfing, skateboarding and biking.

“I guess you could call it the most natural of friendships because at that age, you really don’t have many standards or inhibitions,” said Raby, who still lives in Danvers and is studying for his masters degree at Suffolk University.

“He was my best friend, the sort of friend you have only one shot at. Speaking strictly about us, our friendship was, indeed, once in a lifetime.”

Voluntary pain

Quigley and Raby are running for much more than personal accolades; they’re running for The Dennis H Casagrande Memorial Scholarship Fund. It was established in their friend’s name to help high school seniors achieve their college education goals by alleviating some of their financial burdens.

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