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RSN's Announces the 21st Annual Essay Contest Winners!

The 21st Annual Essay Contest is Closed for Submissions. Winners will be announced in September 2023.

This year the theme is “How do you use your creativity to help cope with kidney disease?

RSN is thrilled to unveil the talented winners of the 21st annual essay contest. The theme this year was “How do you use your creativity to help cope with kidney disease?” This inspiring competition encouraged individuals living with kidney disease to share their experiences and insights on how creativity has been a vital tool in their coping journey. The contest is open to anyone in the United States who has been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.

The array of heartfelt and imaginative entries from kidney disease warriors across the country demonstrates how creativity can be an effective and a joyful coping strategy. The resilience and creativity displayed by these individuals are truly inspiring. We are delighted to showcase their stories, which highlight the incredible ways creativity can be a source of strength and healing for those of us living with kidney disease. 

RSN's Announces the 22nd Annual Essay Contest!

This year the theme is “Which film, television series, book, or song provides you with comfort?”

RSN is thrilled to unveil the theme for its 22nd annual essay contest. This year, we invite people who have kidney disease to share their personal story about how a cherished form of entertainment media aids in your journey of navigating life with kidney disease. We encourage writers to explore the question: “Which film, television series, book, or song provides you with comfort?”

The contest is open to all people in the United States who have been diagnosed with kidney disease, have had a kidney transplant, or are on dialysis.

For submissions to be accepted, they must be typed and not exceed 750 words.

Lori Hartwell, RSN’s founder and president, says: “Numerous TV shows, books, and music have been instrumental in assisting me during challenging times by helping me navigate through my emotions. I eagerly anticipate hearing the stories that others have to share.”

Contest winners will receive cash prizes: First Place, $500; Second Place, $300; and Third Place, $100. The submission deadline is August 10, 2024. Winners will be announced on the week of September 23, 2024, and winning essays will be featured in RSN’s publication KidneyTalk™ Magazine and on RSNHope.org.

All entries must be postmarked or received by 12:00 PM (PT) on August 13, 2024.

Read and Listen to the Winning Essay of the 21st Annual Essay Contest:

The top five winning essays are also available to read in Spanish.

Landscaping, Gardening, and Flowers Everywhere, 1st Place Winning Essay, 21st Annual Essay Contest

Unimaginable fatigue, like cotton candy melting and wilting on a hot day, slows the mind and body; sleep becomes an escape, but the body...

A Dash of Creativity, 2nd Place Winning Essay, 21st Annual Essay Contest

For the fifth time that day, mired in hopelessness, I stood in front of my refrigerator and stared at its contents. I wanted my...

Mind Games, 3rd Place Winning Essay, 21st Annual Essay Contest

I am a baker. I usually work out of the left side of my brain. I’m very methodical and list oriented. I do everything...

Flip the Script, 4th Place Winning Essay, 21st Annual Essay Contest

Let’s flip the script: My kidney disease supports my creativity. We must begin with the simplest fact: In my life, I have people who...

Birdhouse Blessings, President’s Pick, 21st Annual Essay Contest

In 2022, I got very sick, and my mom told me I almost died. I spent five months in the hospital at UCLA Mattel...

Jump In! Honorable Mention, 21st Annual Essay Contest

I am a photographer. I photograph along the Crystal Coast, a few steps from the sea. I capture moments in time others will want...

Did you eat yet?, Honorable Mention, 21st Annual Essay Contest

“Did you eat yet?” or “Are you hungry yet?”  are two phrases I hear frequently since I was a child.  Is cooking a creative...

Happy Pens, Honorable Mention, 21st Annual Essay Contest

Smorgasbord: A wide variety of something.             Happy Pens: An oasis in the ever-changing smorgasbord of medical opinions. I am more than my diagnosis. Regarding my “condition,”...

Coping by the Layers, Honorable Mention, 21st Annual Essay Contest

I would not have considered myself to be an artist as a child. Toddlerhood was marked by hastily scribbled drawings. Childhood into the preteen...

A Tale of Tasty Triumphs, Honorable Mention, 21st Annual Essay Contest

I dream of food. In the way a painter stares at a blank canvas and sees a sunset or perhaps a portrait of dogs...

The Power of Three, Honorable Mention, 21st Annual Essay Contest

They say good things come in threes. There is red, white, and blue in our nation’s flag. “Goldilocks and The Three Bears” is a...

Enjoy the Moments, Honorable Mention, 21st Annual Essay Contest

I would have a hard time painting a stick-figure portrait, even by number. I would only successfully be able to put the clay in...

A Novel Approach, Honorable Mention, 21st Annual Essay Contest

Being on dialysis is like having a part-time job that doesn’t pay. So what I’ve done is use my treatment time in ways that...

The Lime Green Blanket, Honorable Mention, 21st Annual Essay Contest

The first time I was wheeled into the dialysis room I was met with a sea of lime green blankets covering a sea of...

O, Yes You Can(e)!, Honorable Mention, 21st Annual Essay Contest

I am a registered nurse by profession. My resume lists gardening and singing as my hobbies. Little did I know when I composed my...

A Recipe for Happiness, Honorable Mention, 21st Annual Essay Contest

Living with kidney disease can present numerous challenges, both physical and emotional. However, for me, creativity has played a significant role in helping me...

Tokens of Love, Honorable Mention, 21st Annual Essay Contest

Being one of twelve children, there was never any extra money for flowers or birthday cards. But my mom always baked each of us...

Read and Listen to the Winning Essay of the 20th Annual Essay Contest:

The theme of 20th annual essay contest was “Surviving Tough Times, sharing a strategy that helps cope with kidney disease.” — inspired people who have kidney disease to share their experiences and how they learned to cope with the illness. The contest is open to anyone in the United States who has been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.

We congratulate our 1ST – 4TH place winners, 2 President’s Picks, and 12 Honorable Mentions who shared their strategies to survive and thrive with this illness.

“It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been 20 years since we hosted the first essay contest,” says Lori Hartwell, President and Founder of RSN. “Every year I have the privilege of reading my peers’ amazing stories. These stories are the fuel that drives hope for people who have kidney disease. Seeing my peers overcome such incredible adversity makes me determined to persevere. Don’t miss this opportunity to read their words of wisdom.”

This is what Brings Me Joy, 1st Place Winning Essay, 20th Annual Essay Contest

“I can’t tell if you are this happy all the time or if you are just faking it.” Lost in the mix of busy...

Laughter Through Tears, 2nd Place Winning Essay, 20th Annual Essay Contest

As he accepted The Mark Twain award, Jon Stewart said, “Comedy survives every moment.” It has been scientifically proven that laughter and smiling lowers...

Kidney Troubles, 3rd Place Winning Essay, 20th Annual Essay Contest

I have kidney troubles.  At 3 years old, that was my declaration to my nephrologist as to why I had come to the clinic that...

Call Me Gumby, 4th Place Winning Essay, 20th Annual Essay Contest

It’s not far-fetched to say things have been difficult recently. In fact, it’s hard to recall “how things used to be!” Coping strategies have...

Somewhere Over the Rainbow, President’s Pick, 20th Annual Essay Contest

As I am led into the dialysis clinic, my temperature is taken and I begin breathing slowly in and out, counting to 10, and...

Choosing Hope, President’s Pick, 20th Annual Essay Contest

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.” - Emily...

Love for Literature and Pop Culture, Honorable Mention, 20th Annual Essay Contest

I was born imperfect, on the cold midwinter’s day. It was February 21 of 1996, when I came “squaloring” out of my mother’s womb,...

Surviving CKD and the Hundred Acre Wood, Honorable Mention, 20th Annual Essay Contest

For the past five years life has basically consisted of four daily peritoneal home dialysis treatments. Thankfully, as a photographer, I was able to...

Blessings, Questions, Dreams, and Imagination, Honorable Mention, 20th Annual Essay Contest

“Do you see the cloud elephant?” asked Mom. I looked up at the billowing clouds, studying each. Finally, I noticed one shaped like an...

Let the Truth Be Told, Honorable Mention, 20th Annual Essay Contest

Remember the song by Bobby Womack, “Nobody Wants You When You’re Down and Out”? He said he used to be a millionaire. I could...

It’s Called ‘The Reframe’, Honorable Mention, 20th Annual Essay Contest

It's been 30 years since hearing those words rocking my world and changing it forever.  Words throwing me into a fear of the unknown.  Words delivered...

When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going, Honorable Mention, 20th Annual Essay...

I was a retired bakery owner and professional chef when I got the news that I had chronic kidney disease. I knew for several...

Forging Ahead, Honorable Mention, 20th Annual Essay Contest

I was diagnosed with Stage 4 chronic kidney disease, or CKD, in 2014. I immediately changed my diet to delay my descent into Stage...

The Practice of Mindfulness, Honorable Mention, 20th Annual Essay Contest

When I tell my story about my end-stage renal disease (ESRD) I often talk of my kidneys and being in counseling. We were in...

Living My Life on My Terms, Honorable Mention, 20th Annual Essay Contest

Living with chronic kidney disease has been really challenging, but since I have been doing it for so long it has just become second...

Still Running My Race, Honorable Mention, 20th Annual Essay Contest

Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I am a 56-year-old African American male from Cleveland, Ohio. My favorite home teams are...

Tenderly Caring for Myself, Honorable Mention, 20th Annual Essay Contest

“Are you okay?” my aunt asked me this in a text after deep-diving through my Instagram posts. I realized I’d never quite known how...

Keep Persevering , Honorable Mention, 20th Annual Essay Contest

I am 16 years old, and in November of 2021, I was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure. It came out of nowhere, and there...

Thanks to Our 2024 Corporate Partners

SPONSOR-LOGO-AKEBIA
FRESENIUS MEDICAL CARE
U.S. Renal Care
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