For most of his life, Bobby Menges battled cancer.
While he lost that fight in September of 2017, the Menges family of Garden City — which includes Emily Menges of the NWSL’s Portland Thorns — continue his fight.
On Saturday, December 22, Emily Menges will be back on Long Island for the holidays and will host a soccer clinic fundraiser with all proceeds going to the I’m Not Done Yet foundation. Liz Menges, the matriarch of the Menges family, said the event quickly filled up and about 100 girls are expected at St. Paul’s Field House in Garden City.
Liz Menges noted that Emily initially positioned her soccer clinic as a way to give back to her hometown. But she later decided to make it a fundraiser to support I’m Not Done Yet.
Founded by the Menges family after Bobby’s passing, the organization’s goal is to help adolescent and young adult patients with cancer and other serious, chronic and long-term illnesses as they transition from pediatrics to adults.
The foundation’s name was the brainchild of Bobby’s brother, Andrew.
“The day after Bobby died we knew we wanted to do something,” Liz Menges recalled. “Andrew noted that throughout Bobby’s life he was never done fighting cancer and fighting to raise money. The name is perfect because we’re not done fighting either.”
Initially diagnosed with neuroblastoma at age five, the Garden City native would again battle cancer at age 10 and for a third time when he was a freshman at Duke University.
Liz Menges said that during Bobby’s third round of cancer treatments as a college student, he often discussed the lack of facilities for patients of his age. Despite being college age, he continued to be treated by pediatric physicians.
“When he was receiving treatment as a young adult, he was obviously more grown up and had a different perspective about his care,” Liz Menges said. “He noticed that the doctor’s offices were set up for kids. The environment for patients of his age was not right. The rooms need to be bigger and offer more privacy.”
Since its founding 15 months ago, I’m Not Done Yet has raised about $700,000, Liz Menges said. The money has been used to support research and programs at four medical institutions — NYU Winthrop Hospital Cancer Center for Kids, Duke Cancer Center, the Hospital for Special Surgery and the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.
More information on those research program can be found on the foundation’s website.
Liz Menges said the organizations were chosen because they either played a role in Bobby’s fight against cancer or are leading research into the type of cancer that ultimately took his life.
As for the soccer clinic run by Emily, the event will include on-the-field instruction from the Thorns defender and others involved in the beautiful game. Among those expected to be assisting Emily will be Michelle Betos, goalkeeper with the Seattle Reign.
Emily and others will also take time to discuss off-the-field issues about playing time, dealing with burnout, finding the right team and college recruiting. There will also be time for questions from the participants, photos and autographs.
For more information about I’m Not Done Yet or to donate, visit the foundation’s website.