On August 23, 2015, I hosted the 5th annual co-ed volleyball tournament at Ski Beach in Mission Bay. Each year, I try to raise money for a local cause. This year, I hosted it in honor of my friend Nema Hallak. Nema was diagnosed with Stage III Hodgkins Lymphoma on April 1st, 2015. Our goal was to make this a fun event for the people of our community and to raise awareness.


We had a watermelon eating contest, a water balloon toss, a 3-legged race, raffle prizes, a cotton candy machine and a taco stand. We had a total of 12 teams playing volleyball, along with 200+ people watching and participating in the other activities. With the support of family, friends, local businesses (including Vasquez Marshall Architects) and people of our community, we were able to raise $5,500 at the tournament, plus $21,000 through her gofundme page (in 1 month)!

There are many reasons why I do this every year:

1.       To inspire other people to believe in themselves. If I didn’t speak out and propose this idea to Nema, none of it would have happened. Of course, I had a lot of help from amazing, open hearted people, but it all started off with one idea. I hope to inspire people to make a change and to not be afraid to propose new ideas.

2.       To bring people together, create new friends and strengthen the bond in our community.

3.       To raise awareness. More people = more prayers.

4.       To show that there is good in this world and to offer opportunities for people to do good.

5.       People enjoy the sport and being at the beach in this beautiful city!

Diane Zoura