Cancer Unwrapped

Writing contest

Enter Your Essay

Experiencing a cancer diagnosis can cause a storm of emotions.  Whether cancer has made you feel angry, sad, lonely, or even grateful, we want to hear about it.  The Cancer Unwrapped Teen Writing Contest invites high school students to submit essays about their experience with cancer for the opportunity to win cash prizes.  Since the contest began in 2006, we have received more than 4,000 submissions and handed out over $150,000 in prize money.

What you write about is up to you.   Over the years we have received essays about the cancer diagnosis of family members, teachers, and friends, as well as essays about cancer in the abstract.  We have received stories of triumph and stories of great loss, stories written in times of turbulence and stories written in times of quiet reflection.  Every story has been honest and heartfelt, and each one is unique.

The contest was created to serve high school students living in Washington State.  Last year we created a contest to students throughout the U.S.  The essay requirements are the same, but the deadline and prize amount are different.

The deadline for the Washington Contest and the National Contest is March 3rd, 2020.

Click on the appropriate link below to submit your essay or contact Mary Nicholas with questions at mary@cancerpathways.org or 206-709-1400.

We look forward to reading your story!

Read Winning Essays

Several winning essays are chosen every year. Browse winning essays from past contests.

Contest for Washington State Residents

  • Open to residents of Washington State only
  • Students must be in grades 9-12
  • Contest winners will receive a $1,000 cash prize
  • Essays must be 500-1,500 words
  • Deadline for submissions: March 3rd, 2020

Click here to enter.

Cancer Unwrapped USA

  • Open to students residing in the United States in grades 9-12
  • Contest winners will receive a $500 cash prize
  • Essays must be 500-1,500 words
  • Deadline for submissions: March 3rd, 2020

Click here to enter