The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) is honoring the legacy of Carson Leslie and the Carson Leslie Foundation by naming one of the conference rooms in CPRIT’s new office in the William B. Travis State Office Building after Carson. The institute recently informed the family about the decision through a personal letter.
The Carson Leslie Foundation, a Texas-based non-profit organization, was founded by its executive director Annette Leslie after losing her son to medulloblastoma, brain and spine cancer on January 12, 2010. Throughout the years, the foundation has worked to help children and teenagers fighting cancer by establishing partnerships with institutions such as CPRIT. The institute will now honor the efforts of the foundation, a decision made by CPRIT’s employees.
“Carson Leslie had a profound effect on so many lives during his too-short time on earth,” stated CPRIT’s CEO Wayne R. Roberts. “He showed incredible courage and strength not usually seen in young adults his age. He inspired children and adults alike with his book, Carry Me, and his commitment to helping others share his story,” he said, referring to the book written by Carson to give a voice to pediatric cancer patients and express how the disease affects their personal, social, physical and emotional lives.
“Carson had a major impact on the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas. When we recently moved into our new office space in the William B. Travis State Office Building, I invited our staff to submit proposals to name our two conference rooms. I’m pleased to share that the final vote resulted in our honoring Carson’s memory by naming one the Carson Leslie Room,” said Roberts in a letter addressed to Mrs. Leslie.
The CEO also thanked the family for the work conducted through the Carson Leslie Foundation and noted Carson’s dying wish, which is the basis for the foundation. “Momma, make sure they study those tumors in my brain, ’cause if those tumors can help some kid some day not die from cancer like I am, I’d like that, it’s hard to have cancer,” said the teenager, who battled cancer for three and a half years.
Annette Leslie is part of CPRIT’s Advisory Council on Childhood Cancer, and the two organizations have established a close relationship to help pediatric cancer patients. One of the most recent initiatives was the awarding of a joint $3,200,000.00 grant to fund research for less toxic childhood brain cancer treatments. The award was designed to support Texas-based not-for-profit institutions or organizations that conduct laboratory, clinical, or population-based studies for a period of up to four years.
A former teacher, Annette Leslie is currently dedicated to giving speeches, advising state and federal legislators and participating in awareness campaigns. Last February, she presented “cold staggering childhood cancer facts” as Mrs. Leslie called it, in a meeting with members of CPRIT’s oversight committee, which includes nine members appointed by the Governor, as the institute is focusing more and more on pediatric cancer.
“With CPRIT, Texas is a recognized leader in cancer research, and that’s just one more reason to be Texas proud,” said Annette Leslie at the time. “If there was someone in America walking around randomly killing 2,500 children every year, someone in America, (I’m thinking probably a Texan) would stop that killer. Cancer is that killer, claiming the lives of 2,500 kids every single year.”