“A Nation in Motion:” Orthopaedic Surgery and The Story of Bobby Menges


Orthopaedic surgery helps keep a young boy's hope and vigor. The story of Bobby Menges shows us that orthopaedic surgeries are a saving grace. The "A Nation in Motion" campaign moves to prove that orthopaedic ...

Print Email

Life comes with its share of unforeseen complications. Tragedy strikes in an instant, which is why programs like “A Nation in Motion” are so important. “A Nation in Motion” shares the stories of people who have been affected by severe health problems, but have overcome these problems thanks to orthopaedic care. “A Nation in Motion” was created by The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, an organization founded in 1933. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is a nonprofit organization focusing on the promotion of knowledge and education between orthopaedic surgeons and health professionals.   The campaign focuses on the successful and inspirational stories of men, women and children who now can live like they had intended to. Each story begins with: “Because of my orthopaedic care, I can _____.”                  

Set apart from the many heart-wrenching stories found within “A Nation in Motion”, there is the story of young Bobby Menges. Bobby, at the age of five, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma(a malignant tumor that develops from nerve tissue and usually occurs in infants and children). Through cancer, Bobby remained active despite the diagnosis and grueling chemotherapy. Bobby played soccer, lacrosse, football, and was a member of the school marching band. However, his health took a turn for the worst yet again, after a year and a half of chemotherapy; Bobby broke his femur on a family skiing trip. Placed in a wheelchair for 15 weeks, the once active and athletic boy was challenged by life’s unpredictable and at times cruel course of events. Bobby’s mother, Elizabeth Menges, says: “The world is full of wonderful people.  We hear so much negative news every day that dominates the media, but when faced with a family in crisis, the vast majority of people show an incredible amount of humanity, generosity and love...”  Bobby Menges learned from doctors that his left leg would never grow on its own; however, with the help of orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Robert Rozbruch of the Hospital for Special Surgery, Bobby was given more than hope, he was given his own guardian angel that was orthopaedic surgery. Dr. Robert Rozbruch performed a limb lengthening surgery on Bobby Menges. According to Dr. Rozbruch, “The surgery had been preformed several hundred times before, however Bobby is a really special case because of his additional battle with cancer , the large deformity and length discrepancy...I felt confident about my ability to lengthen his leg and correct his deformity. The Menges family was so positive and optimistic about the entire project. That was a huge plus.” And so, the process began, Bobby’s femur bone was extended 1 millimeter a day. Dr. Rozbruch created a stimulus for growth in Bobby’s leg by stretching the soft tissue in Bobby’s nerves, muscles, and blood vessels. Gradually, Bobby went from a wheelchair, to crutches, to regaining his mobility. After the triumph of surgery, Bobby is regular 14 year old boy, who wrestles, water skis’, snowboards, and most importantly, is free of cancer.

Dr. Rozbruch has words of advice for families in similar situations: “Stay positive and keep plugging away. Find doctors who will think out of the box and who will tackle challenging problems.” Orthopaedic surgery can be a miracle for anyone who has the opportunity to take it. Doctors like Robert Rozbruch are more than ready and more than capable to restore mobility back to their patients’ lives. For more information on orthopaedic surgery, to learn more about the “A Nation in Motion” Campaign, or to see more inspirational stories like Bobby Menge’s story, visit www.anationinmotion.org.