Cancer Unwrapped Winning Essays

2022 Winning Essays

View the 2022 edition:

A collection of heartfelt stories written by teens facing cancer

Browse the database below to read all past winning essays or click on the image to the right.

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Chemo: From the Perspective of a Daughter

Chemo: From the Perspective of a Daughter Struggle is nothing but a concept until it isn’t anymore. I watched my mother struggle through months of treatment and it was only then that I could begin to comprehend the truest meaning of the word. Listening to the verdict...

Ecosia

Ecosia My earphones, with off-white wires tangled from overuse, serve one purpose: to blast music loud enough for angsty-punk-singer screams to drown out the distressing sobs of a mother failing to nurse her sick husband.   Upon hearing of Papa’s diagnosis,...

On a Scale of 1 to 10

On a Scale of 1 to 10 I wish that when doctors ask you to, “ Rate your pain from 1 to 10” the numbers go beyond ten because every time they asked me what my pain felt like it felt more like a 20. My name is Mia Thinnes and when I was six years old I was diagnosed with...

The Sun Rose Again

The Sun Rose Again It was as if all the light was being pulled from my body, pouring into the atmosphere and leaving a trembling cold behind. I stepped outside in 80-degree weather and couldn’t control the shiver. I was freezing. I was sick. I was fading. I remember...

Reconciliation

Reconciliation I’m in a hospital bed in the photograph. Tubes sprout from my chest, weaving towards machines just out of frame. My skin is almost translucent, contrasting with the warm pink of my favorite hat. Wisps of my remaining hair peek out from underneath, the...

Homesick

Homesick I had no idea you were a gift I couldn't keep. That our time on this earth was glass, able to shatter and be swept away at the mercy of a diagnosis. I thought, in my naivety, that you would always be there for me, and I never thought about what life would be...

Getting Real With You

Getting Real With You So let me just get this out of the way. This will most definitely NOT be your typical “oh-I got cancer-but-made-it-out-and-became-a-perfect-person-for-it”. No, this is a story in which I’m going to get real with you, I’m going to let you know...

Yellow Roses

Yellow Roses Her favorite flowers were yellow roses. We’d get them for her on every occasion; her birthday, anniversary, and Mother’s Day. Seeing those flowers on the table on some of the happiest days in my life, I never would've expected to see them one last time,...

Unwell

Unwell She sits on the edge of the couch, putting together a playlist filled with old Matchbox 20 songs and a bit of Elton John here and there. It was a strange combination, but it had been a rough day. Her mom was at work. Her twelve hour shift that had lasted...