The typical Ironman Triathlon is a series of long-distance races consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride, and a 26.22-mile run, in that order. It’s one of the most grueling sporting events in the world. While most of us would never even consider doing it, Daniel Allemond (Gamma Phi–Louisiana-Lafayette ’05) has not only done it more than once but is preparing to do it again.
And as if this weren’t remarkable enough, Allemond did this after beating cancer and is getting ready to tackle it again after once more defeating the dread disease.
“I’ve done one half Ironman and two fulls before,” he said, “a half and a full in 2019, and a full in 2020, both post-cancer. I got married in May of 2015 and in September I was diagnosed with leukemia.” After several years of chemotherapy, Allemond was given a clean bill of health. But last year that all changed.
Settled into his career as a physical therapist at Ochsner Health in Lafayette, Allemond and his wife were planning a family when he received the news that the disease was once again active. “For around three years I was cancer-free, then in January of 2021, I found out I’d relapsed. In May I had to have a stem-cell transplant. My dad was my donor.”
Now healthy once again, he said, “My goal this year is to do a half Ironman in May and a full one in November.” Both of these events will be in Florida. Besides those, Allemond is trying to raise enough money through sponsorships to compete in the world championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, in October. “I got a call from Ironman saying that, if I raised $20,000 for the Ironman Foundation, I could go to Kona, the world championship, so that’s where I stand now. But I don’t know if I can raise that money.”
Allemond’s wife, Maggie, is her husband’s biggest cheerleader and said her husband not only wants to achieve his own goal but wants to help others as well. “It’s been Daniel’s dream to race Kona since his original diagnosis in 2015,” she said. “Aside from staying alive to meet his son, this has been one of his biggest motivators in his fight against cancer. He’d also like to inspire others through his story, as well as to give back to the community through the Ironman Foundation, which supports relief efforts for disasters like hurricanes and wildfires.”
Few people would have Allemond’s outlook on life after such struggles with a major illness. But the former Gamma Phi Number II is able to find parallels between both the good and bad in life. “Ironman and cancer are very similar,” he said. “I look at it like, How far can I push my mind and body?”
The Allemonds recently became the proud parents of a new baby boy, yet another event that makes him wax philosophical. “My dad was part of bringing me into this life,” he said, “and as my bone marrow donor, he was part of saving my life. And now that I’m a dad, I know I’d do anything to save my own child’s life.”
In the end, Allemond’s faith is a major factor in his calm demeanor and outlook on life. “I never doubted,” he said. “I left everything to the Lord. He is the number one reason why I am still here. People that I didn’t know, and still don’t know, come up to me and say, Hey, I was praying for you. And I truly believe all those people praying for me saved my life.”
To find out more about helping Allemond reach his monetary goal for the world Ironman championship, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.