By Veronica Sandate Craker
In AMC’s original television series The Walking Dead, the zombies that roam the earth are often referred to as “walkers.”
On Oct. 20 Howard Amon Park in Richland will be overrun with “walkers” with more than just brains on their minds.
That’s because the Second Annual Zombie Walk for Brain Cancer Cure event is back and this time organizers hope to make it bigger and better.
Oliver Posenauer and Dannie Meyers started the walk last October. At the time they enlisted Tri-City residents and local businesses to raise money and awareness of brain cancer.
Posenauer and his friends came up with the idea while discussing the different types of fundraiser that are normally held for charities.
“We were talking at Shari’s (restaurant) about charity events and how there’s walks and runs and jog for everything and we also have a love for zombies,” Posenauer said. “A friend of mine had passed away from cancer the year before and we were brainstorming and it kind of clicked. Zombie walk. Zombies love brains.”
An estimated 200 people showed up to the first event held in October. The large crowd surprised everyone including the event organizers.
“I never expected it to be as successful as it was,” Posenauer said. “I just imagined 20 to 30 people coming, but we made between $200 to $300. Even the City of Richland they immediately pulled me aside and said they wanted to pick us up again for this year.”
So now Posenauer is busy preparing to make this years just as big as last years.
This year money raised will go toward the Chris Elliot Foundation. The nonprofit works to provide support for patients with brain tumors with an ultimate goal of ending brain cancer.
Posenauer is seeking out cancer patients and survivors to participate in the walk.
“I’ve been trying to roundup information to spotlight people who have had or are currently going through brain cancer problems,” Posenauer said. “It’s also kind of important to me because my grandfather just passed away with cancer.”
To make the event even more memorable, Posenauer has recruited help from the Tri-Cities International Fantastic Film Festival to host a horror show movie night after the walk.
Organizers are also working on having makeup artists on hand to help walkers look extra scary. And volunteers can expect another flash mob of something scary and fun.
“Last year we did a flash mob of Thriller, but this year we have something different,” Oliver Posenauer said.
The walk is scheduled for 4 p.m. and will begin at John Dam Plaza. Walkers will make their way toward the Howard Amon Park Community Center for the flash mob, horror show and a costume contest. The entire walk is free and open to the public.
“I want people to show up whether they dress up or not,” Posenauer said. “Not only are they helping us, but they are learning about cancer and brain cancer research.”
As he prepares for the walk Posenauer is still in need of donations to make t-shirts and for makeup artists to help people make the transformation into the walking dead.
“Sometimes it feels like a little much, but I know it’s going to a good cause,” he said.
Donation checks can be made out to CEF or Chris Elliot Fund (for zombie brain cancer). No cash can exchange hands on city property. Any cash brought in will be turned into a cashiers check or money order and sent to the Chris Elliot Fund on behalf of the Zombie Walk and its supporters. For more information visit www.facebook.com/zombiewalkforbraincancer.