Special reunion as Le Roy man returns from 4,000-mile paddle

LE ROY, N.Y. (WIVB)- When Leslie Laurie-Nicoll bought the artsy little coffee table that now sits in her parlor, she wasn’t sure if she’d be alive to use it.

“After I bought it I had this little mini, not a panic attack, but I thought what I am doing?” she said of the $95 craft fair purchase.

She was diagnosed with stage 4 bladder cancer about two years ago.

An avid canoer, she and her son Kris loved hitting the rapids together. After that devastating diagnosis, Kris suggested they plan a trip.

“We didn’t know if this would be our last paddling trip together, or what the case was,” Kris told News 4.

In part, he wanted to keep his mom’s mind off cancer; he also wanted to get her outside.

They set out on the Missouri river, paddling from source to sea all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Leslie was able to canoe for about 20 days. Kris finished the remaining 157 in her honor, and to raise money for bladder cancer research.

His last paddle he told us, earned him more a sense of humility than accomplishment.

“I had been thinking about the end of the river for six months, so to finally be there was also a bit surreal,” he said.

Kris raised almost $4,000 for bladder cancer research. He auctioned off the canoe that got him through the 4,000 mile trip.

Leslie has had consistently clean scans since this summer. In August, she bought a new canoe, with the hope she’d be out on the water again someday.

“I’m anxious to take Kris out in my canoe. That will be exciting,” she chuckled.

She never thought her son’s efforts would garner the attention they did; he got thousands of dollars in donations from strangers. But Leslie is most thankful his gesture was able to raise awareness for others diagnosed.

“I’m just thankful that word has gotten out there, maybe and hopefully I’ve given some people a little bit of hope.”

When asked what the vintage wood and glass coffee table makes her feel now, she smiled.

“I guess it just gives me hope and a sense of thankfulness.”

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