June 16th, 2015 Bio News-Texas, Leonor Ferreira
Adolescence is already a difficult time for teens who long for personal space and establish their own identity. And when teens struggle with a disease such as cancer in addition to the normal challenges of their age, it can make coping with the disease even more difficult. In order to fulfill this need and help improve the quality of life of teenage cancer patients, the Carson Leslie Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to Children’s Medical Center of Dallas to dedicate a space specifically for teenager cancer patients and it’s called Carson’s Corner.
The Dallas, Texas-based Carson Leslie Foundation funded Carson’s Corner to give the over 400 teenagers being treated for cancer every year at the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas a space of their own. The foundation was created in honor of Carson Leslie, who died from cancer when he was 17 years old, and his mother, Annette Leslie, knew how difficult it was for her son to spend so much time in the hospital due to the disease.
“Carson was a giver at heart,” said Annette Leslie, who serves as executive director of the foundation. “and in the end, he insisted that his cancer-filled brain be studied with the hope of helping the next kid diagnosed with cancer. He also kept a journal of his fears and dreams and loss of dreams in which he wrote: ‘At times I felt deserted and lonely… I am not looking for some deep meaningful conversation; I am just looking for a conversation. The weather will work.’ ”
Keenly aware of the feelings of loneliness experienced by her son, the Carson Leslie Foundation created a teen room on the cancer floor at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, and named it Carson’s Corner. This space was designed specifically for hospitalized teenagers and is intended to be a place where they can be together to talk about friends, music, movies, the regular stuff teens talk about.
“Crafts, games, movies, music and fun occur each day and provide a relaxed atmosphere where teens can independently meet one another and get out of their room,” explained Melinda Goff, Child Life Team Leader at Children’s. “I couldn’t help but think about Carson and how happy he would have been in that room and how his life still inspires us. Carson is continuing to impact people with his legacy and is making life better for these teens.”
Annette Leslie shared, “It’s the teens themselves who understand the fears, burdens and concerns of being a teen with cancer. We think Carson would have enjoyed a little corner of the hospital to gather with others and it is our absolute joy to give these valiant cancer fighting teens Carson’s Corner.”