By Shereen Siewert

Friends and family members of a Wausau woman fighting grade 4 brain cancer will hold a benefit Saturday to help fund the revolutionary new treatment that could tremendously improve her odds of survival.

Deb Robinson Stolzman, pictured shortly before her June 2018 diagnosis of stage 4 glioblastoma. (Contributed photo)

Deb Robinson Stolzman, 60, was diagnosed in May with glioblastoma, an aggressive type of cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord. Glioblastomas belong to a group of brain tumors known as gliomas, as they grow from a type of brain cell called a glial cell. The disease causes crippling headaches, nausea, vomiting and seizures.

The average life expectancy for a patient diagnosed with grade 4 glioblastoma, the same cancer that plagued the late Sen. John McCain, is just 14 months.

But some patients are finding new hope in Optune, a non-invasive, portable device that creates wave-like electric fields that can stop cancer cells from dividing. The FDA-approved treatment is showing serious promise, but the cost — roughly $20,000 per month — is staggering, especially considering that Deb was released from her job as a television advertising sales representative just weeks after her diagnosis.

The treatment works like this. Every two to three days, Shari Berna at Studio 121 salon in Wausau shaves Deb’s head. Then, Deb’s husband, Brian Stolzman, takes over, as demonstrated in this video:

YouTube video

On Saturday, a benefit will be held from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Daly’s Restaurant, 307 Third St., Wausau. The event will feature live music by Chad Brecke, a silent auction, 50/50 raffles and more. The cost to attend is $25 with all proceeds going toward Deb’s ongoing treatment.

For more information, visit the event Facebook page.