For the past 25 years, I have raised over $192,000 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.In late 2013, I founded my own upstart, Zombie Leader, as a vehicle to fundraise for LLS and other charities. I now cosplay and fundraise at comic conventions throughout New England and have the support of many promoters and fans. What began as non-descript zombie cosplays have evolved into well-known comic and pop culture icons. I now use cosplay and photo ops as a fundraising means and am often an invited cosplay guest at shows. Unlike comics and movies, medical doctors and researchers fighting cancers and other diseases are the real superheroes as are the patients fighting for survival. Zombie Leader raises monies to help eradicate blood and other cancers.
I have found the fundraising aspect of cosplaying to be both fun and worthwhile. I have met some incredible fellow costumers as well as giving donors in my travels. It’s great meeting new people and spreading the need for charitable giving. I am a proponent of cosplay in the community. When I am now at a convention, it is also not uncommon for some of the talent to take a picture with the LLS banner and me. These pictures reach the talents’ fans thus increasing Zombie Leader’s charitable reach. Since founding Zombie Leader, over 85K has been raised for local and national charities at conventions & through auctions including The LLS CT-WHV Chapter’s Man & Woman of the Year Dinner.
Starting four years ago, I struck up a collaboration and friendship with Gerry Gladston, COO of Midtown Comics. Gerry approached me with the idea of having LLS be the first participant and donor recipient of a Midtown Comic online sale. Once approved, Zombie Leader gathered a group of fellow cosplayers & a photographer and headed down to Time Square. Every March, the annual pilgrimage to Midtown occurs for promotion of this charitable sale. We spend an hour shooting cosplayers with Gerry throughout the store to promote their products and the sale. The reception at the store from the regular customers that happen to stumble across our shoot has always been positive as has the feedback on social media during each year’s promotion. Gerry and Midtown Comics have donated nearly 12K the first three years. We are looking forward to adding to that total for this year’s sale, which starts on March 13th (ironically my birthday).
This cause is dear to me because my grandmother, Anne Zavorskas, passed away several years ago from Hodgkin’s disease–a form of leukemia. Also, many years ago, my mentor’s son, Ryan Hurley, had a recurrence of leukemia, which he was first diagnosed with at the age of three. He died at the age of 19. Unfortunately, leukemia causes more deaths than any other cancer in children under the age of 20. These instances led me to my desire to donate time and money to this particular charity. In 2016, I was a Man of the Year Candidate for the LLS CTWHV Chapter and raised 25K in ten weeks. All of my hard work and dedication to the cause has earned me the 2000 prestigious LLS “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. I also received the 2016 Campaign Innovation Award from LLS for incorporating geekdom into my Man of the Year Campaign successfully. These recognitions are humbling and I appreciate recognition of years of hard work and charitable giving. Please consider buying from Midtown Comics online for this particular sale and cause,
Todd Zavorskas, Founder
To find out more about my cosplay and charitable endeavors, please check out the following: CALL Auction, Zombie Leader FB, Zombie Leader IG; Zombie Leader Twitter.