Foster daughter inspires triathlete to swim for cancer research


by Grace Glausier

Sep 11, 2017

Allison Field dreams of a cancer-free world.

That’s why she’s doing her part to support cancer research by swimming for the cause with Swim Across America. She draws inspiration and courage from her foster daughter, Deanna Stearn.

Deanna came to live with Allison and her then husband when she was 16 years old. She and her then 13-month-old son quickly became part of the family. Though Deanna moved out when she aged out of the foster care system at 18, she and Allison have been linked together through the ups and downs of life ever since.

Deanna was diagnosed with breast cancer after giving birth to her fourth child. According to Allison, the cancer was extensive and fast-growing. After chemotherapy and a series of four surgeries, Deanna is now in remission. Her last reconstruction surgery was three months ago, and Allison could not be prouder.

“She’s kicked all the odds,” Allison said. “She has shown incredible courage and grace through navigating her cancer while raising six children, two of which were born after she finished chemotherapy.”

Allison, who used to swim competitively, is excited about honoring her foster daughter’s fight through Swim Across America, an organization whose mission is to unite people through benefit swims that raise funds for cancer research and clinical trials. After hearing about a friend’s decision to swim for the cause through an open water swim in Seattle, Allison said she thought, “Oh my gosh, I want to do that.” She signed up for the upcoming Dallas Open Water Swim at Lake Ray Hubbard.

“It brings awareness to how insidious and pervasive cancer is,” she said. “There is never enough money to do all the research that needs to be done. It’s important for everyone to do what we can.”

Allison completed her first triathlon in June and is planning to do more in the future. She has just started to train with her coach for the upcoming open water swim, which she said will be a challenge because swimming in open water is very different from her usual pool swims.

But for Deanna and for the hope of a cure, she’ll train hard and give it her all.

“In our lifetime, one in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer,” Allison said. “I joined the Swim Across America community so that, together, we can change that.”

Learn more about cancer care and ongoing clinical trials through Baylor Scott and White Health, or find opportunities to support oncology research initiatives.

About the Author

Grace Glausier is the manager of digital content strategy for Baylor Scott and White Health. A graduate of Baylor University, she is passionate about connecting people through powerful stories and empowering individuals toward better health.

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