Members of the Carson Leslie Foundation donate a check for $100k to CMC and tour "Carson's Corner" teen activity room on D6.

Members of the Carson Leslie Foundation donate a check for $100,000 to Children’s Medical Center and tour “Carson’s Corner” teen activity room on D6.

Carson Leslie was diagnosed with brain cancer at age 14 and died three years later in his Preston Hollow home, surrounded by his parents and older brother. The extraordinary teen left a lasting legacy that continues to be felt in the cancer-fighting community.

At his request, the family launched the Carson Leslie Foundation, securing a $3.2 million partnership with the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, which is helping fund studies to find better childhood cancer treatments with fewer side effects. Carson also left behind a powerful record of his experience in the book, “Carry Me,” which includes his raw and honest writings about the realities of having and dying from cancer.

Now, thanks to a $100,000 commitment from the Carson Leslie Foundation, another Carson-inspired project has come to fruition. Children’s Medical Center now provides teens a room of their own. It’s called “Carson’s Corner,” and it’s a gathering space where teenage cancer patients can escape their hospital rooms and talk, play video games, and connect with others like them.

Even though Carson was surrounded by friends and family, he longed to meet other teens who knew exactly what he was experiencing, says his mom, Annette Leslie. Children’s had playrooms for pediatric patients, but nothing for the older kids. He wrote in his book, “I felt deserted and lonely … I’m not looking for some deep meaningful conversation; I am just looking for a conversation. The weather will work.”

“It’s the teens themselves who are the only ones that can truly understand the fears, burdens and concerns of being a teen with cancer,” says Brittney Lanier, a registered oncology nurse at Children’s. “We think Carson would have enjoyed getting out of his hospital room to play Xbox, have a conversation, and just maybe chat about the weather. It’s our absolute joy to give these teens Carson’s Corner.”

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