Triathlon to Support Local Woman Undergoing Cancer Treatment

Marnie Banks was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer just over a year ago. It was August 3, 2016, and she had just spent the day celebrating her 37th birthday with family and friends. Shortly after going to bed, she experienced severe abdominal pain. The pain was so intense she couldn’t breathe. Then came the vomiting. She figured she had food poisoning, but after 3 hours of no relief, she reluctantly let her husband take her to Mountains Community Hospital. When she got to the ER she was immediately given an IV of fluids and medication to help with the pain. Her stomach calmed and the pain subsided. The ER doctor recommended a CT scan, but still thinking it was food related and worried about expensive medical bills, Marnie declined.

All was good until about 7 am the next morning, when the pain returned. “It was the worst pain I have ever experienced, worse than childbirth,” said Marnie. She went back to Mountains Community Hospital for a CT scan. A blockage and large mass were detected. “My ER nurse was such a huge comfort. She held my hand as the doctor gave us the results of the CT scan and tried to be encouraging. My doctor was professional and compassionate. If I hadn’t stopped there first, I think the experience of learning I had cancer could have been a lot different,” said Marnie.

She was taken by ambulance to San Antonio Community Hospital for further testing and then to City of Hope. The oncologist at City of Hope confirmed that she had stage IV colon cancer. She started chemotherapy at the end of August 2016. In March 2017 she had surgery to remove the tumor and she continues to have chemo every other week. “I’m one of the lucky ones who gets the chance to live to the fullest. Not a day goes by that I am not eternally grateful for my family and the blessings I have, and that I am still here to be a wife and mother.”

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is emotionally devastating. Add treatment costs to the mix, in addition to other related expenses, and it can be one of life’s most stressful and challenging experiences. Tri4Change attempts to lessen the burden. Tri4Change is a nonprofit organization founded in 2016 by former Lake Arrowhead resident Roger Wall and his family. They lost their best friend (mom and wife) to colon cancer in August 2016. Their annual triathlon is dedicated to raising awareness about the impact of cancer on people’s everyday lives, while raising money for people affected by cancer.

This year’s triathlon on September 30 in Lake Arrowhead is dedicated to helping Marnie and her family. The race starts at the Arrowhead Lake Association’s Burnt Mill Beach at 7 am. Here’s an overview of the course:

  • SWIM: The swim will start and end at Burnt Mill Beach and be 0.5 miles from start to finish. Lifeguards and safety boats will be on the water.

  • BIKE: The bike course is approximately 12 miles long, and is a clock-wise loop around Lake Arrowhead, following highway 189 and 173. Volunteers and aid stations will be every few miles.

  • RUN: An out and back trail run, ending in 3.2 miles, starting at the Burnt Mill Beach Club. There will be safety volunteers and aid stations along the way.

We hope everyone in the community comes out to support Marnie and her family. If you are interested in participating, or would just like to make a donation, please contact Celine Wall at There are only 30 spots left, so register today!