Almost any weekend during any year, from January to November, there’s a sailboat race going on in the Santa Monica Bay and for the many racers that participate in them, there are no prizes, trips or cash awards for their efforts — only trophies.
Nevertheless, for the love of the sport, sailors turn out — week after week — to compete with each other on the liquid track.
But come Sunday, August 13th, for the competitors that participate in the Fourth Annual Jennifer Diamond Celebrity Regatta, there is not only hardware to win, and some prizes — there is also a cause to support.
The Jennifer Diamond Cancer Foundation began when 27-year-old Jennifer Diamond was battling cancer of the appendix, a very rare form of the disease and one that ultimately took her life.
During the struggle, Jennifer, along with her mother Alice and father Harvey, worked tirelessly investigating all they could about the uncommon sickness.
“Because it was a rare cancer, we had to do a lot of searching around — you have to sort of blaze your own trail,” said Alice Diamond of the process. “Shortly before Jenny passed away, she had a discussion with Harvey and asked him to help others with cancer.”
True to their word, the Diamonds immediately began to optimize all that they had learned throughout their investigations involving rare forms of cancer and decided to compile what they had found into a unique library that would prove beneficial for others in similar situations.
“Going through this, you learn a lot,” said Diamond. “We decided that one of the things that we would do would be to start these cancer research libraries and bring to the general public as much information as we could find.
“Then we started donating them to cancer outreach centers in the Southern California area.”
To date, there are currently three cancer research libraries open in Southern California and a fourth will open later this summer.
As longtime members of the Del Rey Yacht Club, the Diamonds thought that it would be a natural fit to employ the sailing community in the effort to raise funds in support of the foundation, so four years ago they began the first celebrity charity race, which included some television and film actors/actresses crewing on some of the boats.
“The objective here is to have a great time on the water, have some fun, have some good racing and raise money that will benefit the community,” said Harvey Diamond, president of the foundation. “This money goes right back into funding the cancer research libraries.”
As for celebrities in this year’s regatta, there are some local professional athletes and actors slated to be aboard some of the race boats, including former major-leaguer Jay Johnstone and motion picture/television star Bill Jacobson. Other athletes from the Los Angeles Angels, Clippers and Lakers are also expected to attend.
The Diamond family is hopeful that this charity event, along with others they have organized, will raise the necessary money to keep the foundation funded for the continued building of future libraries that they believe will be both relevant and important to cancer patients and their families.
“Doctors try to provide as much information as they can, but they can’t provide it all,” said Harvey Diamond about the importance of the libraries.
“They just don’t have the time to. But there are other things available and once you have that information available to you, it’s very empowering.”
Other sponsors for the event include NATEL Engineering, Acme Casting, Firestone/Firestone Walker Fine Ales, Amgen, Windward Yacht Center, The Boatyard, West Marine and Anheuser Busch Beach Cities.
Information on The Jennifer Diamond Cancer Foundation, (310) 551-0800. Those interested in participating in the Celebrity Sailboat Regatta should call Lee Lewis at (323) 583-3129 ext. 109, or send e-mail to lee@ acme-casting.com