Jul 20, 2022
A prior supporter of Conquer Cancer’s Grants & Awards Program, the Carson Leslie Foundation (CLF), has committed new research grant funding for a promising early-career investigator. To be administered by Conquer Cancer under EveryGrant, the Carson Leslie Foundation/#cureMEdullo Early Career Investigator Award in Medulloblastoma will go toward cutting-edge research for the most common form of brain cancer in children.
The Carson Leslie Foundation was launched in 2010 by Annette and Craig Leslie after their 17-year-old son, Carson, passed away from medulloblastoma after suffering with the disease for three years. CLF is the only nonprofit organization in the United States whose focus is on finding a cure for medulloblastoma, a seriously underfunded area of research. In addition to fueling research, the foundation helps to fill a void by supporting the mental health of pediatric patients with cancer and advocating for bipartisan support at the federal level, as well as in the state of Texas.
To help address the inherent loneliness and isolation that young children and teens experience as they go through cancer treatment, CLF collaborates with the Jordan Spieth Family Foundation to provide Under Armour backpacks to hospitals throughout Texas, packed with items that come in handy for long hospital stays. During the pandemic, CLF even shipped their signature backpacks to patients in Italy and the Philippines. Additionally, CLF launched HEARTS of Gold hootenannies, providing an unexpected surprise to every pediatric patient with cancer at Children’s Medical Center Dallas, such as a Nintendo Switch, a ukulele (complemented with virtual ukulele lessons), or a remote-control car—bringing a little joy to these young patients who were tethered to medical equipment and chemotherapy bags while sequestered in their hospital rooms.
CLF’s advocacy work includes a collaboration with the $6 billion Cancer Prevention Research Initiative of Texas (CPRIT) to expand pediatric cancer research in the state. Since 2010, CPRIT has increased its investment in childhood cancer research from 3% to 11%. CPRIT and CLF also came together to launch Researchers RoundUp—an event to “round up” the brightest childhood cancer investigators in Texas to discuss, identify, and encourage collaboration. As a member of CPRIT’s Advisory Council for Childhood Cancer, Ms. Leslie counts among her many achievements to be a successful $3.2 million childhood brain cancer research initiative at three research institutions in Texas.
The application period is already underway for the Carson Leslie Foundation/#cureMEdullo Early Career Investigator Award, with a recipient to be named later this year after a competitive peer-review process. The $100,000 grant for a 1-year project is one of the few medulloblastoma-research-focused opportunities for investigators in the early stages of their career.
“The joining of forces between our organizations represents our synergistic commitment to advancing research in medulloblastoma and ensuring a pipeline of outstanding investigators focused on this important area,” said Gerald McDougall, Conquer Cancer Board member and CLF chair.