Though nearly seven years have passed since Preston Hollow resident and Covenant School student Carson Leslie died of brain cancer at the age of 17, his selfless spirit and courageous attitude live on through the work of the Carson Leslie Foundation.
On Aug. 19, the foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to children’s cancer research, coordinated with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to host 10 young cancer patients in a private suite for a preseason game against the Miami Dolphins.
Before the game, team president Stephen Jones insisted that the Children’s Health VIPs, or “very important patients”, walk the field during warm-ups. It was an evening inspired by Carson’s dreams of helping other teens fighting cancer.
Carson’s mother, Annette Leslie, can recall Christmas Eve in 2009, when they learned he only had a matter of days to live. In the early hours of Christmas day, Carson quietly told her, “I thought I was going to make it.”
“I can never un-hear that,” Annette said.
Carson said he wanted doctors to study his brain tumors so other kids might not have to go through what he did.
He died three weeks later.
Six days before his death, Carson fulfilled a longtime dream when he signed a copy of his own published book Carry Me, a collection of journal entries in which he describes his life with cancer. Carson dedicated the book to children and teenagers combatting cancer who never got to tell their stories or voice their dreams.
“That’s just how Carson was,” Annette said. “He cared so much about those around him and always wanted to help others.”