17th Annual Essay Contest

Submissions are now closed. Winners will be announced September 20, 2019.

Theme: Kidney Warriors: How do you battle this illness and win?”

1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners receive cash prizes. Winning essays and will be published online and in RSN’s Live&Give magazine. First Prize: $500, Second Prize: $300, Third Prize: $100. Submissions are now open through August 10, 2019.

Lori Hartwell, RSN’s founder and president, author of Chronically Happy: Joyful Living in Spite of Chronic Illness and host of KidneyTalk Podcast, says, “People who live successfully with a chronic illness like kidney disease know firsthand the importance of having an innovative perspective and strategy not only toward their illness, but also toward life in general.” She added, “There is an abundance of talent within the renal patient community, and the RSN Essay Contest provides people who have kidney disease with a forum where they can share their experiences, strengths, hope and inspire others.”

Last year, the 16th Annual Essay Contest first place winner, Gordon Labuhn, wrote about attitude and how it impacts others. He said “One’s attitude toward life is like a boomerang. What you give away is what you receive back.  I was astounded to learn I won first place! I want my peers to recognize that they should never give up and keep a positive attitude even if there are bumps in the road.”  

Joy Araujo, who took second place last year with her essay about kidney campers describes how unexpected inspiration came from the kids whom she signed up to be a camp counselor for.  She said, “I’m newly transplanted – just a year ago. I appreciate this opportunity to share my journey because we all need to express ourselves and we all have a story to tell.”

Stacy Hoblitzell, who took third place last year with his essay titled Mom. She donated a kidney to him and taught him valuable lesson he carries with him today. He said, “This essay contest has encouraged me to write more!”

Winners of the 16th annual essay contest:

Boomerang – 1st Place Winner 16th Annual Essay Contest

A boomerang is simply a curved piece of wood engineered to ride the air currents. Learning how to throw one only requires a brief...

Unexpected Inspiration – 2nd Place Winner 16th Annual Essay Contest

On a muggy, stormy day in Brookston, Indiana, I stood in anticipation as a bus full of jubilant “Kidney Campers” pulled up to the...

The Tenacious Mother, the Fortunate Son and the Blessed Kidney of Hope – 3rd...

Maternity can be graced upon any woman; reaching the distinction of motherhood requires the internal strength of a lioness whose brood has been threatened...

An Angel on Earth – President’s Pick 16th Annual Essay Contest

Will I ever have a girlfriend?  Will I ever be married or have children? These are questions a ten-year-old boy should not have to ask...

Before I Let Go – Honorable Mention 16th Annual Essay Contest

“And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he...

The Extraordinary Nurse That Inspired Me in Her Free Time – Honorable Mention 16th...

“I have nothing left to give,” I thought as I struggled to catch my breath. Sweat rushed down my face and dropped to the...

Straight-Up Encouragement from “The Body Part” – Honorable Mention 16th Annual Essay Contest

Weeks before my fifteenth birthday, I sat before my nephrologist as he handed down a diagnosis of Chronic Kidney Disease. A congenital heart defect...

Hakuna Matata – Honorable Mention 16th Annual Essay Contest

When I was first diagnosed with kidney disease at the age of 23, I was young with no plan on how to cope with...

Thanks to Our 2019 Corporate Partners




U.S. Renal Care


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Read Past Essays

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...

Get the Essay Collection Book

Book of Essays - Renal Support Network

RSN’s book of essays “Hope, Inspiration & Wisdom: A Treasury of Thoughts on Coping with Kidney Disease” is available for purchase.
Order the Printed Book for $14.95 or the Kindle Book for $6.99

All entries must be postmarked or received by 12:00 PM (PT) on August 10, 2019.