14 year-old Pinoy football player born with no arms shares inspiring story

PHILIPPINES – Community support and passion for sports have been pivotal in the lives of para-athletes, showcasing their resilience and determination in the face of challenges. Jerald Pelonita, a 14-year-old football enthusiast born without arms, finds joy and camaraderie in the sport. His classmates’ encouragement propelled him to join the football team, aspiring to emulate renowned Filipino football players.

For Jerald, the pursuit of excellence involves relentless dedication. Despite physical limitations, he immerses himself in online training videos, diligently practicing drills to improve his skills. Coach Peter Lim emphasizes the inclusive nature of the sport, fostering personal growth for aspiring talents like Jerald.

Similarly, Coach Coleen Faye Grande, a 28-year-old wheelchair user due to a car accident, found solace and strength in football. Formerly an athlete at a Manila university, Coleen draws immense support from her family and friends, crediting the sport for positively impacting her mental well-being.

Both Jerald and Coleen embody unwavering determination in pursuing their athletic passions despite adversities. Jerald’s focus on the game’s essence drives his ambition, aiming to contribute despite his physical limitations. Coleen echoes the sentiment, acknowledging the profound lessons sports impart, emphasizing discipline, commitment, and purpose.

These inspiring stories are part of the Better Today: Power Move Project, a PLDT Inc. and Smart Communications, Inc. initiative celebrating World Mental Health month. Supported by MVP Sports Foundation and Football for Humanity, the video series aims to champion mental health and wellness through sports. It highlights Filipino para-athletes and coaches, showcasing resilience, bravery, and mental fortitude.

The initiative aligns with PLDT and Smart’s commitment to UN Sustainable Development Goals #10, promoting inclusion and reducing inequality. Moreover, it underscores the companies’ dedication to UN SDG #3 by uplifting digital wellness and emphasizing diversity and equality, integral components of the PLDT Group’s sustainability framework.