Coach Jeff Hunter told his volleyball players at Charleswood School he wanted them to learn what it means to give back, and the result was a rousing success.
The Grade 8 Spikers girls’ team decided to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research and treatment at their games on Oct. 29.
The team wore special pink shirts during back-to-back contests against Van Walleghem School and River West Park School, and all donations made at the door were given to CancerCare Manitoba.
The players decided to pay extra for the jerseys, raising $100 before a single donation was made at the door, and the school’s cheer squad held a bake sale to bolster the amount raised.
Team captains Sydney Michalyshen and Darby Goodall helped Hunter with the planning.
"We thought that playing volleyball to raise money was a good idea, since that’s what we all love to do," said Michalyshen, a Charleswood resident. "It’s gone pretty good. We’ve got a few people out here to watch, and we’re playing well."
Goodall, who also lives in Charleswood, said the players decided breast cancer was the cause they wanted to direct their attention towards because everyone has been touched by the disease.
"We’re all girls, so it has something to do with us," she said. "People on the team know people who have had it, so we thought it was a good fundraiser to choose."
She added that the event would be successful no matter how much was raised.
"We wanted to make at least $100," she said. "Any dollar we get counts."
It wasn’t just the players on the team that got in on the action, Michalyshen said.
"We had lots of fundraising help this week from everyone at school," she said. "We had the bake sale, lots of posters were put up, and we all wore pink today."
Hunter said the planning started about a month ago, and the players learned a valuable lesson about charity.
"We have had some staff members whose mothers have undergone breast cancer treatment, so it seemed like a worthy cause for our school," he said.
Hunter was also pleased to welcome coach Diane Scott and left side Ozana Nikolic of the University of Winnipeg women’s volleyball team, and Amanda Bakker, a Charleswood School alum and member of the full-time training centre for the national women’s team.
The special guests took photos with the team and congratulated the players on their fundraising efforts.
"It’s really exciting to have them here," Michalyshen said. "It’s motivation to play our best."