Friends of Zakk Weichbrodt are holding a special Cards for a Cause fundraiser this weekend for the 2009 Tippecanoe graduate working to strengthen his immune system in using an alternative approach in his battle against cancer.
Zakk, now 26, was diagnosed in 2014 with undifferentiated sarcoma, a rare form of cancer discovered during an investigation of a lump on his lower leg. He underwent surgery and radiation therapy and learned about a year later of metastasis in his lung, Zakk’s father, Steve Weichbrodt said.
After chemotherapy was attempted without success, Zakk chose to turn to alternative treatment in Germany, where he traveled in early January with his father for six weeks. Zakk, who was graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering when diagnosed, is married and has an eight-month-old son.
Knowing alternative treatment was not covered by insurance, Steve Weichbrodt started a Go Fund Me account to help cover the expenses of Zakk’s future treatment and ongoing expenses.
The Cards for a Cause will help Zakk with that effort during his cancer journey, organizers said.
The Saturday, March 11, Cards for a Cause will be held at the Eagles on Main Street from 6-11 p.m. The entry fee is $10 (paid at door) and buy-in for poker, euchre and Pokeno (bingo style) will be $20.
Pizza will be included in the price of entry and there also will be a cash bar. Raffles will be held during the evening for baskets and gift cards. A tip board raffle will be held for a Steve Weichbrodt signature piece of furniture.
Steve Weichbrodt said the treatment approach selected by Zakk following extensive research emphasizes the individual and is based on the immune system eradicating the disease. A treatment specifically for Zakk was developed.
“German and other European oncology specialists were the early pioneers in the immunological approach to cancer treatment,” Steve Weichbrodt said. “Their approach is treating cancer by strengthening and utilizing our immune system versus automatic surgery, radiology and chemotherapy. “The idea is to strengthen the person as much as possible and boost immunity.”
On returning home, Zakk continues to follow a treatment protocol that includes supplements, diet, exercise, natural compounds and maintaining better mental health. Zakk likely will need to maintain protocols for the rest of his life, his father said.
Steve Weichbrodt, a cancer survivor, said he has found it important for those receiving a cancer diagnosis to take charge of their own care. “Patients need to thoroughly research and inform themselves of all the possibilities before deciding on a course of treatment. Standard of Care may not be the answer to your disease.”