Spike for Hope 3: More than the love of the game

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“When did you last play just for the love of the game?”

While preparing for Spike for Hope Season 3, a team captain joining the tournament for the first time raised this question to TJ Cruz, the project leader.

For professional volleyball players and hobbyists, the sport is mostly about competing. It is about honing one’s skills on the court for every ace, cut, dig and spike one takes. It is about beating the opponents and becoming better from one’s last game. With all that, one may forget to just enjoy the game. Hence, the team captain’s query.

The participants of Spike for Hope Seasons 1 & 2 know that volleyball is more than a competition. Past all the fun and camaraderie they have shared with the other athletes, it is even much more than just playing for the love of the game. More importantly, Spike for Hope is about experiencing the power – and magic – of how their sport can make wishes come true for children with life-threatening medical conditions. All participants came home tired but fulfilled and exhilarated.

Spike for Hope Season 1 in January 2016 started as a passion project between former colleagues TJ, a volleyball player, and Abi Arcangel, a volunteer for Make-A-Wish Foundation Philippines.  Both have experienced having a parent struggle with cancer and felt compelled to do something for kids battling with the same condition.  Spike for Hope Season 2 in October of the same year was organized as the players clamored to reach out to more children – the number of participants doubled and more funds were raised for the foundation. In total, both seasons have granted almost 50 wishes.

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Aside from the games, the highlights of the events included the heartfelt talks of TJ’s father, actor and cancer survivor, Tirso Cruz III, the children’s art activities and the surprise ‘wish reveal’.  At the last tournament, another high point was when former wish kids – some are already young adults, having survived their illness — gave personal testimonials on how their ‘wish journey’ helped them cope with their medical battles. They attested to how their pains were eased with the foundation’s support and the touching assurance that they were not alone as even strangers fiercely cared about their recovery and making their wishes come true.

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In cooperation with the La Salle Parents’ Association, Spike for Hope Season 3 will be held on April 1 at the St. Benilde Gym in La Salle Green Hills. More athletes, hobbyists, and celebrities are joining and the league will include 24 teams – three times bigger than its first season.

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The foundation always encourages its volunteers to grant wishes with their own brand of magic. Spike for Hope participants chooses to be #MakeAWishPH Genies in the best way they know how to – creating magic on the volleyball court.

“When did you last play with that kind of purpose?”

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Make-A-Wish Philippines grants wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy. Spike for Hope is a volunteer-led initiative to promote awareness and raise funds for the foundation. Email spikeforhope@gmail.com or info@makeawish.org.ph for inquiries.