“I don’t need Luck. I have Faith.” That was the motto of Nick Leslie, who exemplified the word strong. He was a true warrior and the most courageous person you have ever met. His faith in God was tremendous.
Nick was a survivor of the childhood cancer Neuroblastoma. He battled from ages three to eleven, enduring chemo, radiation, and two stem cell transplants. Nick’s tumor was wrapped around numerous organs and couldn’t initially be removed during normal treatments.
However, his parents turned over ever stone imaginable, and eventually found a surgeon who could remove the tumor. With the help of many experimental treatments, the cancer went into remission after six long years.
Nick lived a great life and was passionate about many things. He loved the outdoors, especially wake boarding and snowboarding. Colorado and Lake Tenkiller were his “happy places.” Nick was able to play high school football and tennis, and he was a leader of the Deer Creek Student Council.
Unfortunately, that’s not the end of Nick’s story. When he turned 18, he started losing weight and developed a problem digesting food. The treatment Nick had received as a child created scarring, which caused restrictions in his digestive system. The same surgeon who removed Nick’s tumor was able to get his digestive system working again. Nick was able to go to college – a huge milestone.
Nick went on to the University of Oklahoma and was majoring in pre-biology/pre-med. His previous experiences gave him the desire to become a pediatric oncologist. He wanted to help kids that were just like him.
However, while in college, Nick started to experience more digestive problems that required hospital stays. The radiation and surgical scarring tormented his body. It started to close off his intestinal, liver, and kidney functions. Doctors decided the only way to save Nick’s life was through organ transplants.
On May 14th, 2019, a donor was found for the transplant surgery. But Nick’s heart stopped during the surgery, and he was never able to fully appreciate the wonderful gift of life the donor had given him. Nick passed away that day.
Nick’s family is in awe of his perseverance and faith during his illness. Nick touched many people’s lives throughout his struggles, defining a true warrior.