17th Annual Essay Contest -- Call for Entries to be Announced in May

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. Check back in May or sign up for updates about the 17th Annual Essay Contest call for Entries by clicking the button below.

Last year, the 16th Annual Essay Contest (2018) Theme was: “Who inspires, encourages or educates you on how to live well with kidney disease?”


RSN’s Annual Patient Essay Contest provides an outstanding opportunity for people who have chronic kidney disease (CKD), including people on dialysis and kidney transplant recipients, to make a valuable contribution to society by expressing their ideas, views, and most importantly, hope. Last year, the theme asked the writers to “Tell us about someone (Doctor, Nurse, Family member, Friend, Patient, Pet) who has inspired, encourage or educated you on how to live well with kidney disease.”  All submissions must be written by someone who has been diagnosed with CKD. Winners receive cash prizes and are featured in RSN’s publication, Live & Give, newsletter and on RSNHope.org.

Thank you to everyone who entered RSN’s 16th annual essay contest!

The 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.”  

“We receive so many wonderful essays from people across the United States – it is always hard for the judges to choose. These essays show the resilience of my peers who are struggling with chronic kidney disease and it is a privilege for me to read them every year,” said Lori Hartwell, President and Founder of Renal Support Network.

Joy Araujo, who took second place 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 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...

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U.S. Renal Care

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