A New Idea
Drawing on those ideas, for their first event the Duke Teen and Young Adult Oncology Program tackled an escape room together. They have also gone rock climbing, done yoga, and tried Krav Maga. Right now, their meetups are virtual because of COVID-19.
After Bobby died, Liz found Thompson’s business card in Bobby’s wallet. She had met Thompson only for a second. But she remembered how excited her son had been about his conversation with her.
“He told me about all the ideas that he had shared with Mallori. As soon as I saw her card, I knew this was something that he would want us to support.”
She called Thompson, and that conversation led to a relationship that has resulted in the family’s foundation making three significant gifts to Duke programs that support teen and young adults with cancer and other chronic health issues. The foundation, called I’m Not Done Yet, is named for Bobby’s desire to always do more.
“Even in the last days of his life when he wasn’t feeling good, he would always get up and do what he needed to do,” Liz says.
The I’m Not Done Yet Foundation gift funds a peer-to-peer support program for teens and young adults with chronic disease and their parents, called “Bobby’s Coaches,” an effort led by Gary Maslow, MD, in the Duke Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Bobby had served as a mentor for teen patients with chronic health issues through the ATLAS program in that department, and Bobby’s Coaches grew out of that.
The foundation’s gifts also provide financial assistance to help young cancer patients pay for fertility preservation services.
“Bobby had so much chemotherapy and radiation for so long at such a young age. But talking about fertility was never on anyone’s radar,” Liz says. “By his third bout with cancer, he was aware of the effects the chemotherapy was having on his body and fertility. It made him so mad that no one had talked to him about this earlier.”