Cancer Unwrapped Teen Writing Contest Winners!

We asked essay winners, “How would you explain the importance of this contest to others?”

Here are their answers:

“It’s important to share your story. We all go through struggles, but sharing helps the weight be lifted and you can find people who relate to you.”

“This contest gives you a safe place to vent and share your experience. It is extremely eye-opening to hear stories you could have never imagined. It builds true solidarity.”

“It is very wonderful opportunity for sharing emotional experience with others, so that teenagers knows that they are not alone to deal with difficult time with cancer. It was good experience for my child to share her experience with others to be positive and move forward with positive feelings even though it is challenging experience.”

“Not only do you get prize money you can use towards college or future education, you get to connect with and hear the stories of other teens who have been through a similar experience. It really gives a new perspective and allows you to share yours with others. It was amazing.”

“I loved getting to hear everyone’s stories, it was an truly awesome experience!! Thank you so much!!”

“The Cancer Unwrapped Writing Contest is just a way to pour out your heart and soul regarding one’s experience with cancer. Additionally, it’s a great way to hear stories from other winners who have had similar experiences. This contest makes sure that our voices as teenagers are heard in regards to the unique stories we tell.”

“It gave me the experience to write my feelings I had kept inside.”

“You get to share your story of dealing with someone close having cancer, which can help to recall memories of your loved one which may have been nearly forgotten.”

“This was a really important contest for me to finally be able to articulate some of my emotions that had just accumulated all of my life, and becoming vulnerable by reading my essay out loud definitely helped me grow as a person. I also think it’s an exceptional way to know that while everyone’s experience with cancer is unique, we can all come together and share the common thread ofcancer affecting our lives somehow. This also inspired me to sign up for an online Cancer Biology course at Johns Hopkins University.”

See you in 2021!


View all 2020 Winning Essays

Since 2006, we have received over 5,000 essays from teens about the cancer diagnosis of family members, teachers,  friends, and their own cancer experiences. Every story has been honest and heartfelt, and each one is unique. This year alone, we received over 750 essays from 47 states. Thank you to every writer, every judge, and all of our readers.