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'Walking Dead' zombies visiting Rogersville to help raise money for cancer patient

Jeff Bobo • Sep 18, 2018 at 11:00 AM

ROGERSVILLE — Fans of "The Walking Dead" will have an opportunity to win a meal Saturday with a couple of the series’ most memorable past zombies — with barbecue on the menu, as opposed to body parts.

And it's all for a good cause.

On Saturday from noon until 6 p.m., former zombies Addy Miller and Kylie Szymanski will be signing free autographs at Saucy Hawgs, a Rogersville BBQ restaurant that opened in July at 5131 Highway 11-W on the eastern outskirts of town.

Proceeds from a raffle to eat dinner with the young actresses, as well as other prizes, will benefit a 15-year Morristown Rescue Squad volunteer who is being treated for Stage 2 Hodgkins lymphoma.

Which zombies are coming to Rogersville?

Addy Miller was in the first episode of “The Walking Dead” in 2010 and made quite an impression on lead character Rick Grimes as "Summer" — the little zombie girl holding a teddy bear he encounters shortly after leaving the hospital. Since appearing in “The Walking Dead,” Miller has racked up about 40 acting credits and returned to “The Walking Dead” in 2017 to play a "gas station zombie."

Kylie Szymanski also played a small but critical role as "Penny," the zombie daughter of "The Governor" who he hopes to eventually cure.

Although the meet-and-greet with Miller and Szymanski is free, Saucy Hawgs is currently selling raffle tickets for $5 each for an opportunity to eat a meal with the young actresses.

Those raffle ticket sales will continue until about 3 p.m. on Saturday, when Saucy Hawgs will draw three winners who can each bring one person to eat supper with Miller and Szymanski from 6-7 p.m. that evening.

Who does the event benefit?

All proceeds will go to benefit John Rutherford, a 15-year volunteer of the Morristown Rescue Squad who was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkins Lymphoma this past March.

Several items have also been donated to be raffled as part of the fundraiser, including a 32-inch flat screen TV; a $200 pair of Costa sunglasses; a $25 Chili's gift card; fall decoration shutter craft; an all-day guided fishing trip on the Nolichucky River; two $25 Saucy Hawgs gift cards; three handmade necklace & earring sets; a Spider-Man kids playhouse of balls; a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts card — bogo 10 free dozen; four Shriners circus tickets ($64 value); a pet grooming gift certificate up to $50; a Sturgills photo gift certificate and WWE memorabilia.

Rutherford is the son-in-law of Saucy Dawgs co-owner Lori Baskette, who has a friend that does horror film conventions every year at Virginia Beach.

That friend hooked Baskette up with Miller and Szymanski, originally just to promote the new restaurant.

But with medical expenses rising for 34-year-old Rutherford, they decided to do a benefit for him instead.

"He has a very large tumor next to his heart," Baskette said. "It's inoperable because it's too close to his heart, and he's on experimental medicine right now. He's got one more treatment at UT, and then he'll be going down to Duke University to see a different doctor there. He has to have a shot after each one of the treatments that costs $10,000, and he's had seven now. They have to pay 20 percent, so they're really getting beat up with medical bills."

Rutherford's wife's name is Megan, and they have two children, ages 5 and 10.

For more information on Saturday's event, contact Saucy Hawgs at (423) 347-8187 or check them out on Facebook.

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