What started out as a passion project of two friends last January has built up into something bigger this month. TJ Cruz and Abi Arcangel, volunteers of Make-A-Wish Philippines, then organized a fundraising tournament for the benefit of the foundation. Little did they know the players would love being volleyball genies so much that right after the games, they were already clamoring to play again to be able to grant wishes of more brave kids battling life-threatening medical conditions.


Season 1 was full of fun, camaraderie and happy tears. There were exciting games joined by celebrities, athletes and hobbyists such as Keifer Ravena, Aby Marano, Melissa Gohing, Stephanie Mercado, Yayo Aguila and more. TJ’s father, Tirso Cruz III, shared the touching story of how his victory over lung cancer strengthened their family and reinforced their faith. In a different room, the children did art activities with other volunteers led by Ms. Rita Ballard, a breast cancer survivor herself and the past President of Corridors of Hope Cancer Support Group of St. Luke’s Medical Center.  The highlight of the event was when the kids showed up at the court to surprise the players with their posters; the former didn’t know that they would have the biggest surprise of their lives in return when they were asked to close their eyes and their wishes, such as toys and rubber shoes, were granted by their volleyball genies.  After the tournament, a party and hospital visit were organized to grant more wishes and the rest of the proceeds were turned over to the foundation. Their beneficiaries include children diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, brain tumor and congenital cardiovascular diseases.


On October 15, the second tournament will have more than double the number of players from the previous tournament. The event also coincides with the foundation’s 16th anniversary in the Philippines. TJ and Abi are grateful to have partners such as Makati Hope Christian School, WhenInManila.com, Pilipinas OOTD and St. Luke’s Medical Center, who continuously believe in the cause. They cannot wait to reveal the new surprises up their sleeves.


The two friends are being approached to organize Hoops for Hope soon. It is their dream to organize tournaments for other sports and they would often joke the next ones will be much much bigger. With genies all around, such dream just might be realized. After all, wishes really do come true.


Spike for Hope Season 2 will be held on October 15 in Makati Hope Christian School from 7:00 am – 9:00 pm. For inquiries and sponsorships, email abi.mawph@gmail.com. Make-A-Wish Philippines grants wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to give hope, strength and joy.