IF there’s one word to describe veteran volleyball coach Roger Gorayeb’s dedication to the sport, it’s ‘devoted.’
Just a few months ago, the 59-year-old mentor was facing his toughest battle yet. Diagnosed with multiple myeloma last year, Coach Roger was able to recover from the disease, and just this month was declared almost cancer-free.
“Negative na nung last two tests ko, sana magtuloy-tuloy na ‘to,” he told SPIN Life. “First time in my life na-ospital ako tapos ganon katindi. Ang akin lang naman, nahihiya ako sa effort ng lahat, ayoko sila i-disappoint kung pababayaan ko ‘yung sarili ko, kaya pinalakas ko loob ko para gumaling.”
The PLDT coach admitted that he almost gave up on himself while lying in the hospital bed undergoing dialysis treatment, unable to move or even speak.
“Kung iisipin ko, grabe talaga ‘yung nangyari. Hindi ako makapagsalita, nakatali ako. Manas buong katawan ko at hindi man lang ako makapunta ng CR nang hindi inaalalayan," he recounted.
Gorayeb added somberly: "Dumating pa sa point na sinabi ko na ‘Doc, kung hindi ako gagaling, hayaan niyo na lang ako mamatay. Nagbibilang na lang talaga ako ng araw."
He was moved when the word that the volleyball community — joined by former players from the collegiate and current players in the professional league — united as one to setup a fundraising concert in assistance of his medication fees.
“Hindi ko alam na may ginawa pala ‘yung volleyball community, may bumisita lang sa akin at sinabi, ‘Oh Roger, alam mo ba ito, merong ginagawa ‘yung mga players para sa iyo.’ Hindi ko akalain na magsi-spearhead sila ng event. ‘Yung mga dati kong players sa Ateneo, sa San Sebastian, nagtulong-tulong. Naiyak ako, malaking bagay sa’kin yung effort nila,” he said. “At hanggang ngayon kahit recovered na ‘ko, na-a-appreciate ko pa rin ‘yon lahat. Sila ang nagpalakas sa akin.”
After four months of dialysis, Gorayeb was able to heal and recover his physical strength back. That’s when he realized he’s not done yet with his journey as a coach, and a second father to all his players.
“Meron pa ata akong mission. Ayokong may mangyari sa akin kasi paano naman ‘yung mga pamilya ko, at yung mga player. Ngayon, masaya ako kahit papaano, at ‘pag nawala na talaga ‘tp –normal na ulit ‘yung buay ko. Kumbaga, wala pa lang imposible,” he said.