A Texas man battling cancer is getting extra support from an Austin-based non-profit organization that focuses on helping cancer patients confront the diagnosis through counseling.
Steve Dombeck has been struggling against two forms of cancer, leukemia and multiple myeloma, since 2015. He currently takes 37 daily medications, as well as monthly chemotherapy treatments, putting a considerable strain on his mental health.
“Throughout this journey, I’ve had a bunch of ups and downs. It’s been like a roller coaster,” said Dombeck.
Despite the trying experience, Dombeck told WFAA that he is relentlessly optimistic.
One of the groups that came alongside him was the Flatwater Foundation, a nonprofit that provides mental health services to people suffering from cancer.
“We connect individuals with therapists to help clear their mind, heal their body, and find the strength to take on a diagnosis,” the organization’s website states.
Dombeck believes the therapy he received through the foundation has been instrumental alongside his medical treatments.
“Something with this much weight, you have to be able to discuss it when you go through cancer. You’re not the person you were,” said Dombeck.
He even credits it with improving his relationship with his daughter, stating, “When you have to explain that your dad is going to lose all his hair, he’s going to feel sick, and he’s not going to be able to get out of bed, I mean, that’s where it helped out a ton.”
Now Dombeck is trying to raise awareness about the connection between cancer and mental health. He is also raising money to donate to the Flatwater Foundation so that the organization can help more people get access to mental health treatment.
He recently participated in the foundation’s “Dam That Cancer” fundraiser, a 21-mile paddleboard competition where participants race to cross the length of Lake Austin, all the way from Mansfield Dam to Tom Miller Dam.