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Announcing the Winners of RSN's 20th Annual Essay Contest!

The theme of this year’s essay contest — “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.”

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

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 2022 Corporate Partners

Gold

FRESENIUS MEDICAL CARE

Silver

SPONSOR-LOGO-AKEBIA
U.S. Renal Care

Bronze

Ardelyx logo
AstraZeneca