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Dale Makoto Inouye was born in July 1998 to Wade and Juliann Inouye. Dale 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 Randy Kiehm and Harvey 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. Dale 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.

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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, Coach Randy and Coach Harvey 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 tried hard and 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.

As part of the DMI basketball tournament, the Dale M. Inouye Inner Spirit Award will be given each year to participants who exemplify the same kind of inner strength, courage and a true joy for life that Dale did.

Dale lived an extraordinary life. After a successful bone marrow transplant in February of 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.

Video Tribute that was part of Keali'i O Nalani, 2008 Ho'ike at El Camino College, Marsee Auditorium. Aloha 'Oe & your rainbow shines on. --Uncle Kenny

The DMI Foundation represents hope, continuity, and promise. We treasure the lessons learned through our experiences with Dale. The battle is never easy and the results are not always as planned, but the only way to carry on is to do so with a purpose. Dale taught us to never give up, use your “inner strength”, and you can get through any challenging moment. This is what we want the participants in our tournaments to get a glimpse of, and hopefully take these lessons home and be better ready for life’s challenges ahead.
— Juliann and Wade Inouye