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After loosing father, daughter, Norco man competes find cancer cure

By in Press Enterprise on December 7, 2017

By Anne Marie Walker

For Norco resident Chris Wilno, taking on cancer is about a promise to fight back.

In September 2002 his father was diagnosed with leukemia, and in August of 2003, his daughter Isabella died at birth. On Jan. 12, 2004, his father lost his battle to cancer.

Soon after this loss, Wilno’s wife, Crea, was expectant with their son only to discover that she also had cancer. The couple made the decision to have the baby and their son, Jaden, was born healthy in 2004. Crea survived her battle with cancer but had to fight it again five years later. She also survived this round and the couple now have another child: 9 year-old Thalia.

From these tragedies and triumphs, Chris has devoted himself to fighting cancer by competing in endurance sports to raise money. Working with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, he has raised $375,000 since 2004.

His drive to compete and raise money is simple.

“I made (my dad) a promise when he was alive that I would fight back,” he said. “I never got to talk to my daughter but I talk to her all the time; I try to lead a life that would make her proud. My wife beat cancer twice; I made the same promise to my dad that I would fight back. The losses give you motivation; you want those to mean something.”

He created a fundraising team called We Will Find a Cure and this year raised $132,000. On Oct. 14, he represented the group in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.

  • Chris Wilno competes at the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii in October 2017. (Photo Courtesy of Chris Wilno)

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