The theme this year was “Describe a positive decision that you have made about your healthcare.” Entrants needed to meet only one qualification— to have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. This year the contest received the highest number of submissions on record, coming from all across the United States. Thank you to evervone who entered RSN’s 15th annual essay contest!

“These essays are full of hope and inspiration. They prove that resilience is alive and well in the kidney community,” said Lori Hartwell, president and founder of Renal Support Network.

This year’s first place winner Brad Chaffee said, “When I saw the topic, it moved me to write. This essay was from my heart and the essay contest gave me an opportunity tell my story.”

Deborah Ramsey, who tied for second place said, “I feel so overwhelming blessed that I share my story with anyone and everyone! I just want to encourage those who are going through similar experiences that THERE IS HOPE! My dream is to be an accomplished published writer and/or speaker, dedicating myself to organ donation awareness and helping others who are on their own journey through tough medical issues.”

Honorable Mention Winner Mary Wu said, “Always ‘Keep Smilin’ is a tribute to positivity and gratitude for the people we meet and this extraordinary journey full of thrilling twists and turns!”

The winners of the 15th annual essay contest are:

living kidney disease - 15th annual essay contest

Making Lemonade Out of Lemons – 1st Place Winner 15th Annual Essay Contest

“I’m afraid it’s time for your husband to start dialysis!”, the doctor declared. The room fell silent as the news percolated in our heads....
Pregnancy and kidney disease

Life or Death – 2nd Place Winner (Tie) 15th annual essay contest

Why am I am so nauseous? Why am I so tired? Why am I so dizzy? In October of 1979 I continued to ask...
why get a kidney transplant

Squirming Toward My New Normal – 2nd Place Winner (Tie) 15th annual essay contest

A chance meeting in a random hallway led to changes. Echoes of conversations filled my mind. “You should opt to get yourself back on the...
LEARNING ALL ABOUT KIDNEYS

Tony’s Kidney – 3rd Place Winner 15th Annual Essay Contest

I am Tony’s kidney, and this is my story. I have a twin brother. Each of us is the size of a fist, and...
losing weight for a kidney transplant

Deciding I Could Lose Weight – Presidents Pick 15th Annual Essay Contest

Nobody asks for end-stage renal disease. I’m still not even sure what started the process of IgA nephropathy I was diagnosed with a few...
depression and kidney disease

Just Keep Moving – 15th Annual Essay Contest Honorable Mention

At an early age, I was diagnosed with kidney disease. Nothing says “awkward childhood” quite like edema, dialysis catheters, and depression. In addition, nothing...
understanding the renal diet

Take It with a Grain of Mrs. Dash! – Honorable Mention 15th Annual Essay...

“How does your food taste?” A simple question to most. A life-changing question to me. “Terrible” I said with tears in my eyes. Somebody...
Turning Point

Turning Point – Honorable Mention 15th Annual Essay Contest

The turning point of my life occurred during my junior year of high school. I had just come off of an amazing weekend of...
coping with kidney disease

Prepare For the Best – Honorable Mention 15th Annual Essay Contest

“This storm doesn’t appear to be a major one, but you should always prepare for the worst,” the weatherman chirped animatedly. I groaned, rolled...
Positive Kidney Living

Positive Kidney Living – Honorable Mention 15th Annual Essay Contest

For months, while living in the shadows of renal failure, I was petrified. Petrified of getting extremely sick, of potential dialysis, of the possibility...
positive attitude kidney disease chronic illness

Keep Smilin’ – Honorable Mention 15th Annual Essay Contest

Dear Positivity, I have a confession to make to you Positivity: I want to be you. People always said I was you, because I would flash...
Essay Contest Kidney Disease Renal Support Network

Popular Essays

Popular Past Essays

Renal Support Network Book of Essays

RSN’s book of essays “Hope, Inspiration & Wisdom: A Treasury of Thoughts on Coping with Kidney Disease” is available for purchase.

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