Ten years after a young, bright, athletic Texas teen died from brain cancer, his last wishes to help others fight cancer were celebrated by some of Texas’ best childhood brain cancer investigators.
Texas has a very unique model that promotes research in childhood cancers. Recently, in Dallas, Texas on January 12, 2020, on the eve of the 10 year anniversary of young Carson Leslie’s death, his mother, Annette, and Texas’ $6B CPRIT with the Carson Leslie Foundation launchd Researchers RoundUp (RR), a gathering of Texas’ brightest childhood brain cancer investigators. Over 50 researchers attended a two day event to facilitate innovative discussions about the big problem of childhood brain cancer, the deadliest disease of our nation’s children.
In 2007, Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment establishing CPRIT, authorizing the state to issue $3 billion in bonds to fund groundbreaking cancer research and prevention programs and services in Texas.
In 2010, CLF was launched to honor Carson’s last whispered wishes, “Make sure they study those tumors in my brain because if those tumors can help some kid someday not die from cancer like I am, I’d like that.”
On a quest to honor her son’s whispered wishes, Annette Leslie, Carson’s mom, sought trailblazers, influencers, principals and mentors for advice and guidance in the space known only to her through her son’s fight for life. A few months after Carson’s death, Annette was invited to serve on CPRIT’s, Advisory Council on Childhood Cancer (ACCC). Now, surrounded by experts in oncology, Mrs. Leslie attended every CPRIT meeting possible, talked about childhood cancer every chance she had, and told Carson’s story to anyone who would listen.
“Annette Leslie was invited to join CPRIT’s Advisory Council on Childhood Cancers and through her advocacy, CPRIT has expanded its role in pediatric cancer.” Tom Luce, CEO Texas 2036
“We named CPRIT’s conference room after Carson to honor his memory and to inspire us with a tangible reminder of the courage and hopefulness he showed in his fight against cancer. CPRIT has made childhood cancer a priority. Our increased grant support is intended to accelerate progress for prevention and research of pediatric and adolescent cancers, and to help Texas become a global leader in childhood cancer research.” Wayne Roberts, CEO – CPRIT
A more narrowed focus on childhood brain cancer was of interest to CLF so the Board Directors met with CPRIT and together launched RR which will be held on the ten-year anniversary of Carson’s death. “Working collaboratively with likeminded organizations is how massive problems are solved. Creating RR with CPRIT and launching the RoundUp on the ten-year anniversary of Carson’s death is a perfect way to honor Carson’s valiant fight for life and last whispered wishes.” Annette Leslie, Founder – CLF
“I am particularly enthusiastic because the Researchers RoundUp represents a potential model for how the CPRIT Advisory Committee on Childhood Cancer and groups like the Carson Leslie Foundation can help CPRIT to identify important opportunities for future CPRIT investments that will accelerate progress in childhood cancers.” Jim Willson, Chief Science Officer – CPRIT