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Norwood boy battling cancer given trip to Disney World

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POTSDAM — Jacob D. Marcellus, 5, Norwood, has always wanted to swim with dolphins. Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he will have his chance next month when he and his family travel to Orlando, Fla.

Jacob was surprised by his family and friends with a party at Ponderosa Steakhouse in Potsdam, one of his favorite restaurants. Cake and cupcakes were decorated with pictures of dolphins and his favorite Disney characters, and he received toys and other gifts.

The highlight of the party was the big announcement: Jacob discovered he would be traveling to Give Kids the World Village, a nonprofit Orlando resort for children with life-threatening illnesses.

Jacob was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a type of brain cancer, on Mother’s Day 2011. His parents first noticed flu-like symptoms in March 2011, and began to worry when these problems wouldn’t go away.

“We kept being told it was an ear infection, but it never got better,” said Deborah L. Marcellus, Jacob’s mother.

After the cancer was discovered, Jacob had surgery to remove the tumor. Over the last year he has traveled to Boston and Vermont for treatment. He started chemotherapy in August, and will be receiving his last chemotherapy treatment July 2.

“He’s been a tough little guy through it all,” said his father, Justin T. Marcellus.

Jacob’s battle against cancer has been going well, his parents say. He is able to attend school and play T-ball, and once the chemotherapy is complete the cancer will be in remission.

Doctors in Vermont nominated Jacob for the Make-A-Wish program, and after a series of interviews, the organization decided to make his wish come true. The announcement party was organized by Make-A-Wish Foundation volunteer Janet P. Murphy of Massena. Ms. Murphy said volunteering with the organization and helping make children’s wishes a reality has given her a chance to feel like a fairy godmother.

“I have the magic wand,” she said.

While in Orlando, Jacob, his parents and his 6-year-old sister, Destiny B., will visit Walt Disney World and get a chance to swim with dolphins.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” Mrs. Marcellus said.

“It’s what he’s always wanted to do, to swim with the dolphins, so to be able to do that with him is worth its weight in gold,” Mr. Marcellus said.

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