A Walk To Remember

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Harry Palumbo will walk 66 miles from Fox Chase Cancer Center in Northeast Philadelphia to the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City to raise money for the American Cancer Society, and honor his South Philadelphia parents.


A Philadelphia schoolteacher will go on a 66-mile walk next week to raise money for cancer.
Harry Palumbo, 45, will walk from Fox Chase Cancer Center in Northeast Philadelphia to the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City to raise money for the American Cancer Society, and honor his South Philadelphia parents.
Palumbo, a 14-year Frankford HS history teacher and football coach, will attempt his solo walkathon as a tribute to his parents who succumbed to cancer.
“I felt like I had to do something for those fighting cancer, and for my parents,” Palumbo said. “There has been rash of cancer victims among my friends and family, so I wanted to do something about it.
“There are two things I could’ve done,” Palumbo said. “I could have gone out to the bar and downed 12 shots of Sambuca – and got a tattoo on my arm saluting my parents. Problem is, I’m scared of needles, so I’ll try to raise money for the cancer-awareness society instead.”
Palumbo has been training for the 66-mile walk for the last six months. Palumbo said he has inspired his students. And for the all the naysayers who think he won’t make it, he points to his new physique after a 55-pound drop in weight.
He walks three times per week – oftentimes for 27 miles straight.
It’s remarkable considering Palumbo only recently had his knee reconstructed, after a work-related injury on October 2011. He had surgery in March 2012, and began training for his walk a few months later.
His inspiration, however, has nothing to do with weight loss. It stems from his South Philadelphian parents, his Mother Virginia “Gini” Palumbo, and father Michael “Mike” Palumbo.
His mom was a former city council aide in the First District. She passed away in 1989 from mesothelioma.
Palumbo’s father Mike was a long-time court employee and an avid bodybuilder. He worked out at the former South Philadelphia weightlifting center at 4th & Snyder Avenue. It’s now a firehouse.
Palumbo’s father died of stomach cancer in 2009. “I’m picking up where my Dad left off as far as fitness is concerned,” he said.
Palumbo’s roots run deep in South Philadelphia. He graduated from the class of ’85 at Southern HS. He worked at Marra’s restaurant on E. Passyunk Avenue for seven years.
He lives in Fox Chase now, though. “Northeast Philadelphia has horrible food, but great parking,” he said. “South Philadelphia has great food, terrible parking,” he jokes.
Palumbo was raised at 10th & Tasker Streets and attended St. Nicholas of Tolentine. His sister Angela still lives at 17th & Wolf Streets. She’ll be cheering him home on the Atlantic City boardwalk on Apr. 27.
Palumbo hopes to raise over four figures during his walk. He is selling t-shirts.
One of his former students, Jhari Evans, who plays professional football for the New Orleans Saints is supporting his walk, he said.
Palumbo will walk 27 miles on Friday and Saturday this weekend in preparation for the walk on the Apr. 26-27.
He hopes, though, he doesn’t get stopped by a police officer this time.
“A cop pulled me over last week, after a neighbor complained I was walking around the block too many times. He thought I was a burglar.
“I told him I was training for a 66-mile walk, and he told me, ‘Good luck’.”
And who will keep him company during his two-day walk?
“When I start the walk, I’m going to listen to the local Philadelphia stations.
“Once I lose the frequency to those stations, that’s when I’ll know my walk has really started.” He said he will switch to his iPods after that. “I have a big playlist on my iPod.
“But two people will be with me the entire time, that’s my mom and my dad.”
For those looking to donate to the run, donations can sent to Fighting for Cancer Step By Step, PO Box 24666, Philadelphia, PA 19111-24666. People can also purchase a t-shirt by visiting www.66milein2days.webs.com or at the Fighting for Cancer Step By Step Facebook page.

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