The Coast News Group
Trendi Phillips with her son who is wearing an Iowa Hawkeyes beanie
Trendi Phillips, a San Marcos resident battling a rare form of cancer, takes a selfie with her son, Kai. Courtesy photo
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In battle against cancer, San Marcos mom finds strength in son, friends

SAN MARCOS — San Marcos resident Trendi Phillips has always been a hard worker. Hailing from Webster City, Iowa, Phillips brought along her Midwestern values when she moved to Southern California 20 years ago.

With her strong roots in mind, it didn’t phase Phillips when she was diagnosed with a rare form of rectal cancer four years ago. In fact, the assiduous single mother of a 10-year-old boy named Kai continued to work her sales job with a chemotherapy bag in hand.

But this year, the cancer has returned again and this time, chemotherapy will only help so much.

Kimberly Walkden, who co-launched a GoFundMe campaign for Phillips, said the cancer has metastasized in Phillips’s liver, prompting doctors to wait for a new immunotherapy treatment.

“Our friend Gigi and I launched this campaign for Trendi because we wanted her to be able to fight her cancer the best she could,” said Walkden, a San Marcos resident who has known Phillips for 15 years. “We know this time it won’t be as easy as the previous times, so we wanted to make sure she would be able to get the physical and mindful rest she needs.”

Because of the severity of this round of cancer, Walkden and others urged Phillips to take time off from work to focus on her health. However, because Phillips has limited access to employer-sponsored assistance as she works for a small business, Walkden said.

“I know that this will be a harder fight for her,” Walkden said. “She constantly worries about not being able to go to work every day so she can pay her bills and provide the things for Kai that he needs and enjoys doing.”

Walkden said the funds from the fundraiser will allow Phillips to take time off from work while still being able to care for her son.

“Her job is very stressful in itself but to add on the stress of complete financial responsibility for your household while trying to fight cancer is a huge feat,” Walkden said. “Trendi is one of the strongest and hardworking women I know. Looking at her no one ever would even guess that she has cancer. That’s why you would never be able to tell that she struggles raising Kai while working and fighting cancer.”

Walkden isn’t the only one rallying behind Phillips. Since launching the GoFundMe campaign just a few weeks ago, more than 170 donors have raised $22,000 to help Phillips.

Phillips said she has drawn her strength, not only from her son, but from her friends who have supported her during the cancer battle.

“I knew I had a great support system,” Phillips said. “But after launching the GoFundMe page, I was completely in shock of the love I received back. The love coming from San Diego all the way to Iowa and some in-between was a tearful moment.”

As Phillips endures another fight against cancer, she said she is thankful for the donations that will allow her to spend time with her son.

“The challenging part is keeping it together,” Phillips said. “But, the one thing I told him is that I will be able to spend the summer with him. He is super excited about that.”

For now, Phillips said she’s thankful to have made the move to San Marcos, a city that reminds her of being home in the Midwest.

“I love the community of San Marcos and I have met such wonderful people here,” Phillips said. “It was clear I was supposed to be here at this time in my journey. San Marcos reminds me of a sliver of Iowa. We all know each other and look out for one another.”

For more information about Trendi Phillips or to donate to her GoFundMe campaign, go to