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Local cancer survivor raises money for Swim Across America
From staff reports
Thirteen-year-old Sammie Jo Porter of Flower Mound dreams of one day swimming for her country in the 400 individual medley event at the Olympic Games.
Her typical training regimen includes swimming six days a week. However in 2010, Sammie Jo’s dreams were put on hold when a swollen eye originally thought to be caused by allergies, was eventually diagnosed as Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH), a rare disease that affects only one in 200,000 children.
Now in remission and back in the water, Porter is using her swimming talents to raise money for cancer research. Joined by her teammates from Lakeside Aquatic Club in Keller as well as swimmers from the Flower Mound and The Colony clubs, Porter has helped form Team Lakeside and has raised nearly $19,000 and counting for the second annual Swim Across America event to be held in Dallas on Saturday at The Harbor at Lake Ray Hubbard.
Team fundraising was bolstered by a $5,000 sponsorship of Porter from SuperMedia, a marketing advisor for small to medium-sized businesses. The swim event benefits Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center, the largest outpatient cancer center in North Texas dedicated to cancer care, research and education.
"When I was in the hospital for my surgery, I was shocked so many children were also fighting cancer,” Porter said. “I really love swimming and this is a way I can help others and also help raise awareness for LCH.”
Porter and Team Lakeside join 25 other teams and more than 225 swimmers who will take part in the event. Monies raised by the swimmers will help fund the new Innovative Clinical Trials Center (ICTC) at the facility.
“The Innovative Clinical Trials Center is so important to our work in finding a cure for cancer,” said Dr. Alan Miller, medical director at the Cancer Center and chief of oncology for the Baylor Health Care System. “When patients come to us, they have basically exhausted all other options available to them through traditional treatments. Our job is to try to find new treatments and therapies to help them and in turn, help others.”
Allen, a master swimmer, is also swimming in the open water event as part of Team Baylor Salmons.
Young Swimmers to Get Olympic Coaching
An Olympic Swim Clinic for younger swimmers who want to get in the water before Saturday’s event is scheduled for 4-7 p.m. Friday at the Rockwall ISD Natatorium. Josh Davis, a five-time Olympic medalist (1996 and 2000) from San Antonio along with Dallas residents Neil Walker, a four-time medalist (2000 and 2004), and Ryan Berube, a gold medalist in 1996, will be on hand to give technique tips to little swimmers, as well as sign autographs. Kids who have raised more than $250 for the SAA event receive free admission to the clinic, while others can register for $50. Proceeds from the clinic will benefit the Baylor Sammons Cancer Center.
“We are so fortunate to be able to participate in this sport at an Olympic level,” said Daniel Watters, event co-chair and member of the 1988 Olympic team. “We are honored that we can come together and give back to those who have supported us by raising money for those who are fighting this terrible disease, and hopefully inspiring some young swimmers along the way.”
To learn more about the Swim Across America Dallas event and how we are “Making Waves to Fight Cancer,” visit www.swimacrossamerica.org/dallas.
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