CARSON — The DMI Foundation, a nonprofit organization, will present the third annual Dale M. Inouye Memorial Basketball Tournament on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 4-5, at CSU Dominguez Hills.
Dale was a Torrance resident who lived with leukemia for seven years of his brief life. He loved playing basketball, and his spirit and inner strength inspired this 36-team tournament.
Retired CSUDH men’s basketball coach serves as honorary chairman. Serving on the foundation’s board are Randy Kiehm, teacher and coach at Stephen White Middle School; Harvey Kitani, teacher and coach at Fairfax High School; Cathie Tani, Title 1 reading teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District; and Scott Mibu, who handles institutional sales and marketing for alternative investments at a full-service investment firm.
As part of the tournament, the Dale M. Inouye Inner Spirit Award is given each year to participants who exemplify the same kind of inner strength, courage and a true joy for life that Dale did. The 2010 recipients were Garret Cuadra (FOR Mavericks), Brandon Teraishi (FOR Blue Rays), Max Okazaki (FOR Thunder) and Derek Inouye (FOR Knights). The 2011 recipients were Kai Fujita (OCO Daimyo), Benjamin Yu (VFW Lakers), Justin Mayeda (San Fernando Celtics), Matthew Miller (Norwalk Magic) and Kyle Takeuchi (HD Kolohe Boyz).
The schedule for Sunday:
9 a.m. — 4th grade girls’ games
10 a.m. — Awards ceremony for 4th grade girls
10:30 a.m. — 4th grade boys’ games and guest exhibition game
11:30 a.m. — Awards ceremony for 4th grade boys
12 p.m. — 5th grade boys’ games and FOR Pacers exhibition game
1 p.m. — Awards ceremony for 5th grade boys
1:30 p.m. — 6th grade boys’ games
2:30 p.m. — Awards ceremony for 6th grade boys
3 p.m. — 7th grade boys’ games
4 p.m. — Awards ceremony for 7th grade boys
4:30 p.m. — 8th grade boys’ games and FOR Pacers exhibition game
5:30 p.m. — Awards ceremony for 8th grade boys
Proceeds and donations from the tournament are donated in Dale’s name to two cancer care and research hospitals that took great care of him during his illness, UCLA Medical Center and Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach.
Dale Makoto Inouye was born in July 1998 to Wade and Juliann Inouye. He had two older brothers, Danny and Derek. At age 2, Dale was diagnosed with leukemia. He endured countless procedures and tests in his battle with this disease. But for most of the time, he was able to live life like a normal boy and enjoy the same activities that his brothers did. He did have a few hospital stays, but was always happy when he could get back to playing sports and attending school.
Dale joined the FOR Pacers team, coached by Kiehm and Kitani, at its inception when he was in first grade. He was proud to follow in his older brothers’ footsteps and join a basketball team of his own. Danny was a member of the FOR Tune Squad and Derek played for the FOR Knights.
The Inouyes are active members of Faith United Methodist Church in Torrance. Dale, along with his father and brothers, was involved in various music ministries at church. He also enjoyed being a part of Keali’I O Nalani hula with his mother and brothers. In addition to playing basketball, he played golf and learned to ski and surf, traveling to Hawaii many times.
Despite his continuing medical care, Dale’s family maintained their active schedules, including work, school, church, scouts, sports, hula, and other social events. Dale dreaded the times he had to be home-schooled and kept away from the many social activities that his family participated in.
In basketball, his coaches were impressed with Dale’s persistently positive attitude. Even though there were times in practice when he couldn’t keep up with the others, he always gave it his best effort. Dale was happy just to be there. He loved being a part of the FOR Pacers and was an inspiration to his coaches, his teammates, and the extended Pacer family.
Dale lived an extraordinary life. After a successful bone marrow transplant in February 2007, both Dale and his brother, Derek, his donor, were able to get back to life and enjoy it fully. But the cancer returned in 2008 and after a valiant fight, Dale succumbed to leukemia on March 16, 2008. He died peacefully, surrounded by family, friends, and relatives, at the tender age of 9.
His one request before he passed away was not to be forgotten.
The DMI Foundation was started in 2010 by a group of his coaches and his friends, including Tani, a friend of Dale’s mom, and Mibu, whose son Dylan was Dale’s teammate on the FOR Pacers. They organized the inaugural DMI Memorial Basketball Tournament, which was held in August of that year at CSUDH to perpetuate the memory of Dale, raise funds for cancer research, and promote youth sports and scholarships.
Since that time, the foundation has expanded to include other fundraising activities such as the Dale M. Inouye Memorial Golf Tournament.