Interviewed by Juli Black
My husband and I have lived in our home for 30 years. Our home has seen a whole lotta good, a whole lotta great and more than our share of pain…Our boy’s were brought home from the hospital here, Carson died here and my husband and I have grown old together here…
What block are you on?
We have 2 son’s and sweet little doggie named Otis!
Favorite thing about living in PHE?
It’s smack dab in the middle of Dallas and convenient to everything.
Local charity you participate with:
Our son Carson was diagnosed with brain cancer at 14, died at 17. The kid packed a whole lotta life in his 17 LARGE but very short years complete with a confident swagger, a smile that would warm a room and in the end a dying wish: “make sure they study those tumors in my brain because 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.” With that wish echoing in our hearts, the CLF (Carson Leslie Foundation) busted onto the Dallas scene a few months after his death.
Tell us about Carson’s book, Carry Me:
Carson was a giver at heart and kept a journal during his fight for life. When 3 new tumors showed up, June 4, 2009 he asked that his journal be published with the hope to give a voice for kids who are too small or too weak to speak about what it’s like to be a kid with cancer. We’ve sold 10,000 copies and all proceeds go to research — it’s even in The Library of Congress!
Here’s a video of Carson talking about his book, he was very weak by this time plus radiation to his brain everyday for 6 weeks affected his brilliant brain, but his heart spills over in the video! You can purchase a copy at Dougherty’s Pharmacy or the Carson Leslie Foundation website!
Tell us about your upcoming trip to DC:
Before Carson was diagnosed with cancer, I had no idea that September is childhood cancer awareness month. September 2010 after he died that January , Congressman Michael McCaul, (Chairman of Homeland Security) read Carry Me and invited me to speak in his Washington, D.C. home at his Inaugural Congressional Childhood Cancer Caucus. Since then I have been a leader in the Bipartisan Caucus and host, “a golden toast” in D.C. to honor Congressmen McCaul and Van Hollen to thank them for giving the childhood cancer community a powerful SOAPBOX from which to shout!
Tell us about the local impact you have had here:
The kid had a pretty BIG impact on BIG D and Texas!
- The Covenant School of Dallas where Carson and his bro Craig went to school, where I taught 1st grade and my husband served on the Board of Directors — they built a $5,500,000 gymnasium. Carson was able to help design the gymnasium during last few months of his life and he humbly named it, The Carson Leslie Center!
- When Carson was treated at Children’s, he never left his room…there was nowhere for him to go, once admitted at Children’s a cancer patient is not allowed to leave the cancer floor — too many germs and the playroom on the cancer floor was full of little kids. So a few months ago, CLF filled the void and built a teen room on the cancer floor and named it Carson’s Corner! And we set up a $100,000 endowment at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas to make sure Carson’s Corner stays fresh and current!
- In Austin, I serve on The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), Childhood Cancer Advisory Council. Texas voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment in 2007 establishing (CPRIT) authorizing the state to issue $3 billion in bonds to fund groundbreaking cancer research and prevention programs and services in Texas.
- Just a few months ago, CPRIT moved into their new State office space in Austin and they named their brand new conference room, The Carson Leslie Conference room! This was a clear confirmation that Carson’s story has deeply impacted CPRIT. I believe with all my heart, when someone sits in CPRIT’S Carson Leslie Conference Room they will be reminded of my feisty, fearless boy determined to, “make sure they study those tumors in my brain…to help the next kid” and I believe that boy with swagger is STILL making a major impact on childhood cancer research.
- As a result of our committee’s unrelenting determination, CPRIT has narrowed their focus and has made childhood cancer research a priority and recently moved their research investment towards childhood cancer from 3% to over 31%! I was smack dab in the middle of making sure they knew the staggering childhood cancer statistics.
- Cancer is the #1 disease killer of American Children
- Cancer in children is on the rise
- One in 285 children will be diagnosed before turning 20
Tell us about Childhood Cancer Awareness month:
*Asterisk denotes CLF opportunities open to volunteers and participation!
- *September 4, The BECK Group is putting on a BOW shoot benefitting CLF
- September 9, CLF is hosting our Inaugural Researchers Symposium
- September 17, CLF is hosting and chairing a Congressional Toast in D.C.
- *September 23, CLF is having Trivia Night at Nickel and Rye, 8-9:30pm, $20 per person—put together a team!
- *September –December, Southlake Kirby’s Steakhouse chose CLF to be their beneficiary for Bourbon Tastings, and TBD drink specials!
- January 22, 2016 is CLF annual fundraising SHINDIG, we are actively hunting underwriters and items for the auction block—JOIN US!!