Carson had this moxie, a bold-charming confidence, an indomitable spirit, a disarming smile that would warm a room and most of the time during his 3 year Carson vs. cancer battle he had a smooth-bald head that undeniably shouted cancer.
He captivated people’s hearts.
Carson walked with courage, grace and dignity every step of the way.
And on January 12, 2010 he took his last breath.
Early Fall 2006, Carson was busy with high school, football and girls. One afternoon, he said he wasn’t feeling 100%. His family took note but wasn’t worried. Carson was a 14-year old boy in the middle of football practice two-a-days.
Then he began to talk about a sore neck, turned down an invitation to go to the Texas State Fair and the throw-ups started. So they went to the doctor, got an antibiotic and symptoms worsened. For three weeks back and forth to doctor, specialists and to the pharmacy, no one could figure out what was wrong.
On October 30, 2006, wanting to feel better, Carson insisted on going to school. On the way to school, he looked at his mom and said, “Mom, something is weird, I see two stop signs and I see two of your face, I think I am seeing two of everything.” They didn’t make it to school that day. They went straight to Children’s Medical Center ER and they weren’t leaving until someone could tell them what was wrong.
Two hours and several more tests later, a doctor invited Carson’s parents down the hall to a private room. They will never forget staring into the doctor’s face and hearing words like: brain tumor, cancer, neurosurgeon, oncologist, chemotherapy, radiation. Tears poured out their eyes knowing that Carson was at the center of those words.
Carson and family scrapped themselves up, and pressed on for 3 VERY LONG years; carried by faith, family and friends. During those years trying to rid Carson’s body of medulloblastoma, the official name of the cancer that invaded Carson’s brilliant brain and healthy spine, Carson had “routine scans”. There was never anything “routine” about those scans that were checking to see if the cancerous tumors were smaller, or larger or more of them, tumors, or just maybe NO tumors at all.
But on June 4, 2009 one of those “routine scans” revealed 3 new tumors had invaded Carson’s brain. The doctor said he was very sorry, but there were no other treatments available except for maybe a study trial; somewhere.
They left the hospital and Carson crawled into his mom’s car and shut the door. He looked at her and said “mom, promise me 1 thing, promise me my book gets published!” Carry Me was published 6 days before he died.
Carson wanted to tell his story of what it’s like to be a kid fighting for life, and encourage those who come behind him. Carson hoped to be a voice for the children that are not able to tell their story.
We are left with the memory of Carson’s strength of character and tenacious attitude. As he became weaker and weaker, he became bolder and bolder. And in the end, he whispered words we’ll never forget, “momma, make sure they study those tumors in my brain because if those tumors can help some kid not die from cancer like I am, I’d like that. It’s hard to have cancer.
So, it is the memory of Carson’s cocky, feisty, funny, competitive and absolutely courageous attitude that the Carson Leslie Foundation was born. He won’t let us stay balled up under out beds. There wasn’t an ounce of surrender in him.
Carson needed his family, neighbors, friends and friends-friends to help carry him and he embraced each bright spot they offered. The children and the families of the children diagnosed with cancer need help.
When you help, you…
• Give hope to the kids fighting for life
• Give confirmation to the kids that beat us Home, that their fight was not in vain
• Give to the kids that don’t yet know, that they are in for the fight for their life