Chainsaw Exorcism with activist Zombie Leader and Leukemia Activism

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Zombie Leader and when I'm not terrorizing the uninfected, I teach middle school science in CT. I'm married with 3 walkers. I am a collector (comics, autographs, & memorabilia), a dabbler in acrylic painting, a diehard sports fan, and fan of The Walking Dead. I'm an Air Force brat, so I lived in 7 different states as well as Greece growing up.

How did you become interested in zombies? 

I grew up watching horror movies and sci fi. The Walking Dead is my favorite show. It’s a drama that happens to occur in a zombie apocalypse. It's only going to be darker the second half of this season. I can't wait. Heads will roll.

What triggered you to get involved in good deeds?

My grandmother, Anne, passed many several years ago from Hodgkin’s disease which is a form of leukemia. Also, many years ago, my mentor’s son, Ryan, at my first teaching job had a remission of the cancer, which he was first diagnosed with at the age of three. He died at the age of 19. (Leukemia causes more deaths than any other cancer in children under the age of 20.) These instances and others led me to my desire to donate time and money to this particular charity, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society CT Chapter. All of my hard work and dedication to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Connecticut Chapter has earned me their 2000 prestigious "Unsung Hero" Award as well as the 2005 Mid-Fairfield County American Red Cross "Unsung Hero" award for my charitable work, both of which I deeply appreciate. Over the past 20 years (pre-Zombie Leader), over $115,000 has been raised for LLS through events, donations, and auctions I have been involved with.

What is the connection between zombies and leukemia?

Blood. Leukemia & lymphoma are types of blood cancer. Zombies thirst for blood (and brains). So, last year I reached out to the guys running the Zombie Charge. I inquired if they would consider donating a portion of their event to LLS because of the zombie-blood connection. They readily agreed. Shortly thereafter, I formed Zombie Leader and the rest is history.

What are your thoughts on the current state of zombies?

I love it. Although it is very trendy to like zombies, I don’t believe it is a fad. There are many diehards who love the undead. Plus, with The Walking Dead spin-off coming out in two years, I don’t find the fascination with zombies ending any time soon.

I see that you brought Addy Miller the zombie actress who plays the first zombie on screen of The Walking Dead to Zombie Charge. 

When trying to secure talent from the show to the inaugural 5K Zombie Charge in N. Stonington, CT, I made an instant connection with Addy's mother, Jaime Miller. Like my youngest son, I found out that Jaime’s brother has Autism and so does Addy's two brothers. Due to the direct family connection, Addy donates a month of her summer volunteering at Camp Royall Autism camp in North Carolina. We worked with artist Big Chris Woods to design an exclusive lithograph of Addy for Zombie Leader. Addy signed autographs and had pictures taken with her fans at the event to benefit this camp and LLS as well. Both Addy and Jaime were delightful. This was the first event were Addy was allowed to put on some zombie make-up at a signing so that was pretty special.

What does the money that you raise go to?

In addition to the Addy Miller exclusive signed lithograph, Zombie Leader sells exclusive Glenn Fabry signed color and B&W lithographs numbered to only 100 each. (Glenn Fabry is an Eisner Award winning artist most known for his work on Preacher.)
A portion of ZL profits will be donated to the LLS and/or The Autism Society of North Carolina. Zombie Leader has donated our exclusives to other charities to auction as well.

What has been the most powerful moment you have had doing good deeds?

Last year I was made an honorary LLS Man of the Year Candidate in CT. I was prepared to run this year as an actual MOY candidate, but recently found out recently that my cousin is getting married on the date of the LLS’ biggest fundraiser. As Zombie Leader, $120 was donated to LLS after last year’s Zombie Charge.

I see Zombie Leader is a sponsor of a roller derby squad. Due tell.

Zombie Leader is currently sponsoring the Yankee Brutals of the Daughters of the American Derby Revolution’s to don Autism patches. The “I Love You” puzzle-piece patches are worn on the hard-hitting gals lower right side of their uniform. This is the side that faces their derby crowd (www.ctrollerderby.com).

Being a fan of roller derby since watching the L.A. T-Birds vs. The Bay City Bombers back in the day (and current fan of CTRG), I thought it would be a perfect way to honor my youngest son and others with Autism as well as raise awareness. Two members of the Yankee Brutals also have autistic children in their lives: Meredith "Ouching Tiger" Zolty's son has been diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified). She blogs about parenting on the spectrum at The Ryan Files and is author of "Ben Has Autism, Ben Is Awesome," a picture book that helps parents talk about autism spectrum disorders with their young children. Long time CTRG-member Sarah "Victoria Deck'em" DiPietro has a nephew with Autism and a niece with Asperger's Syndrome. Autism is a range of neurological differences characterized by atypical social interaction and communication skills. It affects 1-2% of the population.

What is the next event you are doing? How can people get involved?

I am currently creating an eBay auction to benefit the 2014 Leukemia & Lymphoma Society CT Chapter. I have been working for the past eight months by reaching out to talent in the comic book industry to collect signed lithographs, original artwork, published comic panels, digital work, etc… One of my favorite experiences was actually meeting Charlie Adlard, The Walking Dead artist. I met Charlie at New York Comic Con this past fall and he was kind enough to spend a few moments with me. He generously signed and donated a published panel from The Walking Dead comic book #105. I have met some great talent getting this together. I hope the auction makes a killing for this charity. I'm going to try to have the auction FB page live by February 23rd. After about a month of trying to get traffic to the page, I will start to go live in increments with the items. Once that site is live, please visit, give it a “like,” and/or make a bid on some incredible artwork!

After the planned auction, I am going to be a vendor at the inaugural Hartford Comic Con in Hartford, CT in May and at Comiconn in Bridgeport, CT, in August.

If you would like to join my herd, please visit www.facebook.com/zombieleader and give us a “like.” On Twitter our handle is @zombieleader1” and on Instagram we are “thezombieleader.” If you want to find out more, you can also check out www.zombieleader.com or email me at thezombieleader@yahoo.com. If you would like to donate to and/or find out more about LLS, please visit www.lls.org. If you would like to find out additional information about Camp Royall, please visit https://www.autismsociety-nc.org/.

If I can get my social media presence to go viral, I have other plans to help our worthy charities. Spreading good deeds one bite at a time!

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