Pledges for this year’s Annual Romero Memorial Walker Fun Run & Shamble for the Cure are down according to the event’s organizers. Walkers International, the worldwide sponsor of the charitable race, is hoping that awareness will both improve donations and polish the somewhat tarnished reputation that the race has garnered since its inception in 2017.
Trouble began during the inaugural shamble when live and undead participants were grouped together at the starting line. This year, organizers have decided to separate the groups, giving the undead a head start on their shamble followed by the live runners a few minutes later. Absolutely nothing can go wrong with the runners passing the shamblers, organizers maintained when asked how they plan to prevent another fiasco.
Controversy cropped up again this summer when a YouTube video montage of undead participants demanding donations other than money went viral. Among the requested donations were kidneys, hearts, viscera, and, of course, brrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaains. One walker even asked for “a small nip on the shoulder.”
The first shamble was set up shortly after the death of George Romero, the activist and filmmaker whose documentaries on the travails of the undead completely changed how walkers are viewed by the living. Research and funding spiked in the 1960s and 1970s after Romero’s first exposé on the undead went live, but public and academic interest lagged for many years after that, and insensitivity still runs rampant. Today, walkerism is known to encompass a spectrum of medical conditions with different causes – including viral or bacterial infection, environmental factors such as radiation or toxic waste, and magical or alien possession – but there is still a lot of opportunity to improve our understanding and look for a way to ease the tormented, destructive, and infectious suffering of the damned.
Given the different causes leading to walkerism, finding a cure is no simple matter. “We’re really fighting a wide range of diseases, not just one,” said Amber Godwin, Living President of Walkers International. “Every dollar we raise with the run and shamble goes straight towards research. We believe that with enough money, we could completely eradicate walkerism in just a few years.”
Godwin asks that people not flee in terror when walkers pound on their door and moan. Instead, take a few minutes to talk with them and try to understand what they are going through. And if you have a few dollars to spare, she asks you to consider pledging to the race.
“A little compassion goes a long way,” she said.