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Norwood woman fundraises for marathon in honor of 5-year-old girl with leukemia

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NORWOOD — A Norwood woman is raising money around St. Lawrence County for a half marathon she’s running in Washington, D.C., in honor of a 5-year-old Michigan girl who’s been diagnosed with cancer.

Jennifer L. DiPalma has been training since May for two half marathons that she’ll be running early next year.

The first one will be the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Orlando, Fla., in February, and the second will be the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in the nation’s capital in April. The Michigan native is raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

“I wanted to run a race for charity,” she said.

Mrs. DiPalma and her husband, Travis S., are both from Michigan and have lived all over the country. They moved to the north country four years ago for Mr. DiPalma’s job with the U.S. Border Patrol.

She is a stay-at-home mom, taking care of their 2-year-old son, Parker T.

Mrs. DiPalma used to be involved with the American Cancer Society through Relay for Life, a 24-hour walk that raises funds and awareness for the society. She said she was looking for something else with which to get involved and she found it in her hometown of Calumet, Michigan.

Mchalie Walter, the 5-year-old daughter of Royale Walter, a woman with whom Mrs. DiPalma went to high school, was diagnosed last year with leukemia.

“She set up a support page for her daughter on Facebook to keep everybody updated,” Mrs. DiPalma said. “It kind of struck me because it’s my hometown.”

“I’m basically running in honor of her,” she said.

Although her fundraising season officially doesn’t start until December, Mrs. DiPalma started fundraising in September and already has raised $200 of her $2,500 goal.

Mrs. DiPalma said she just showed up in Norwood, Canton and Potsdam looking for donations.

“Jennifer spoke with us and we were impressed with her goal and just wanted to help her anyway we could,” said Carmen J. Gendebien, owner of Glow Skin Care and Spa in Canton. “We know she’ll make her goal.”

“Businesses have been really willing to donate,” Mrs. DiPalma said.

She’ll be bartending for the first time from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Ole Smokehouse in Madrid to raise tip money for her cause.

“There will be somebody working with me that is trained,” she said.

She’ll also be raffling off gift certificates for local businesses at the steakhouse.

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