HCN News & Notes

Belchertown Girls Volleyball Team Supports Baystate Mary Lane

WARE — Student athletes from Belchertown High School girls’ volleyball team started their school year and fall volleyball season by volunteering their time maintaining the Healing Garden located at Baystate Mary Lane in Ware. The Saturday-morning time spent in the garden has been an annual event for the team, their coach Scott Poulin, coach Steven Koziol, and parent and friend Paul McGrath.

The team’s long-standing commitment to start their season volunteering on the grounds of the Healing Garden is an act of support for the patients and families facing cancer who find solace in the garden throughout the year. The players trim and prune plants, weed the flower beds, and transplant perennials so the garden always has something in bloom for its visitors.

“Coach Poulin suggested we help out in the garden after we visited the Baystate Regional Cancer Program located at Baystate Mary Lane in Ware to make a donation following the team’s annual Spike It for Life Volleyball game,” said McGrath.

The Belchertown team has been hosting the Spike It for Life tournament since 2010. Each year, the proceeds from the tournament are donated to the facility in Ware, providing convenient access to comprehensive cancer care, clinical trials, and a multi-disciplinary team approach to cancer care for patients in the region.

The Healing Garden, which the team has adopted as their community volunteer project, is located in the courtyard of Baystate Mary Lane. It is a calming space designed as a respite for patients, caregivers, and their families. The oncology suite overlooks the garden, which was funded by the Walk of Champions.

“I get so much help from the volleyball team members and have met some amazing parents along the way,” said McGrath, who organizes the annual Spike I for Life events. McGrath’s daughter, Kayla, was a member of the varsity volleyball team throughout her years at Belchertown High School.

Spike It for Life is the brand of a growing community of volleyball coaches, players, and events across Western Mass. with the specific purpose of combining sport and philanthropy to raise money for cancer research and supporting services. “The teams wear pink shirts, shoelaces, andhair ties to show their support,” said McGrath. “There are raffle baskets assembled by parents and from donations from businesses in the communities. The gym is filled with pink and plenty of energy.”

Since 2010, Belchertown Girls Volleyball has raised over $23,000 in cooperation with its partners from Amherst and Ware. All proceeds have benefited the Baystate Regional Cancer Program at Baystate Mary Lane in Ware.

Belchertown High School will host its eighth annual Spike It for Life match against Amherst High School on Friday, Sept. 29. Community members are invited to come out to support the teams and their cause. The event includes raffles and refreshment. The JV game begins at 5 p.m. and is followed by the varsity game at 6:30 p.m. Additionally, the Belchertown-Ware game will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 10 in the Ware High School gymnasium, beginning at 5 p.m.

Comments are closed.