Knoxville residents came dressed in their best zombie attire to participate in the Zombies Like Brains Walk and 8k run on Sept. 8. The event was held by the Julia Barbara Foundation, which is fighting to cure Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), also known as brain stem tumors.
The event was held on the West Knoxville Greenway, starting and ending at Carmike Cinemas, and featured zombies along the pathway for some added fun.
Elizabeth Kammer Psar, the executive director of the Julia Barbara Foundation, created the foundation in honor of her daughter, Julia, who passed away from DIPG in May 2016.
“There is currently no cure, and DIPG only occurs in children,” said Psar. “Usually the life expectancy is between 4 to 9 months. Since they are located on the brain stem, these tumors cannot be operated on.”
The Zombies Like Brains run series raises funds for research into cure for DIPG. The money raised by the Julia Barbara Foundation goes to the DIPG Collaborative, which then gives grants to research companies who are working towards a cure.
“Last year, as a group, we gave $1.5 million,” Psar said. “There is very little government funding at this time. May 17 of next year will be the first national DIPG Awareness day.”
The Julia Barbara Foundation has another run series that will take place in January called I Just Want to be a Unicorn, which raises money for families with children who are currently diagnosed with DIPG.
“There is currently a little girl in Maryville with DIPG who we donated to this year,” Psar said.