TAMPA BAY, Fla. — This is no ordinary swim lesson for Michelle Deaton at her son Wyatt, 12. They’re in training. 

“It’s been going good.” Michelle said. “I feel stronger.”

What You Need To Know

  • Michelle Deaton and her son, Wyatt, are training for Swim Across America, a charity swim that's dedicated to raising money and awareness for cancer research

  • Deaton is a breast cancer survivor with five years in remission

  • Deaton says she's participating in the swim to get fit after her chemotherapy treatments

You might remember the Deatons from a year ago when Wyatt was training for a Swim Across America, an annual 2-mile swim in the Tampa Bay he did with his swim coach, raising money to fight cancer.

It was all for his mom because she’s a breast cancer survivor, but this year the coach can’t do it, so guess who’s taking the plunge?

“My time when I first started was a little slow,” Michelle said. “2 minutes and 44 seconds for 100. That’s not fast, but yesterday, when I swam, it was 2:32, so I’m getting faster.” Michelle is no stranger to swimming. In fact, she used to do it as part of her cancel recovery.

“I started swimming because after I was diagnosed you get all that weight from all the drugs, the chemo and the anti-everything drugs that they give you, so I thought, ‘Well, I’ll swim because it’ll be easier on my body,’” she said.

Wyatt said he welcomes the challenge.

“I think she’s going to tie something to my leg just so she doesn’t get lost,” he said.

This is a mother and son relationship that goes farther than any laps in a pool. There’s a powerful undercurrent of support that flows through this family.

Support that’s giving Michelle some important goals to accomplish.

“I’ve got some big milestones this year,” she said. “I’m turning 50 in March and I’ll be five years remission cancer free. I thought, "‘Y’know what, what a better way one to get in shape for the 50th birthday and then two, to be able to swim with him?’ I think he’ll remember it forever. It’s just a great way to celebrate those two milestones.”

For Wyatt, Swim Across America means so much more than just raising money to fight cancer.

“I think it means that she’s really dedicated,” he said.

Donate to Wyatt Deaton's Swim Across America page here.