Teens Essay Contest 2021

Are you a teen impacted by cancer?
We want to hear YOUR story.


A cancer diagnosis can unleash a storm of emotions, questions, and unexpected discoveries, not just for the person with cancer, but for the whole family, and even their friends. Sharing your experience can be both good for you and helpful to someone else who may be in a similar situation. We are looking for original, honest, detailed, and heartfelt multimedia submissions by local teens (ages 13-17) who have been impacted by cancer- whether it is their own diagnosis, a loved one’s diagnosis, or the loss of someone due to cancer- and can share their experience with cancer through essay, poetry, artwork, or video submissions.

Cash prizes of $250 will be awarded to 1st place winners in each category. Runners-up will also be recognized for each category.

General information:

  1. The Teen Cancer Story contest is open to teens ages 13-17 in the Westchester, Rockland, and Fairfield County area
  2. All submissions must be new and original
  3. Teens may enter in one category only: essay, poetry, artwork, or video
  4. Not open to previous contest winners
  5. All entries must be submitted electronically (artwork can be mailed or delivered in person)
  6. Submission deadline extended to June 18, 2021 at 5pm. Artwork that is submitted via mail must be postmarked or scheduled to be dropped off at the Clubhouse by June 17, 2021.

Submissions become property of Gilda’s Club Westchester and may be displayed in printed publications and on gildasclubwestchester.org.

Please email Jaime Aker at jaker@gildasclubwestchester.org with questions

Essay Specifics

All essay submissions must be typed in 12pt Times New Roman font, double spaced and between 750- 1,500 words. Essays must be uploaded as a .doc or .docx, no PDFs or Pages files. Must be in the teen’s own, original voice reflecting on their experience being impacted by cancer, personal insights, original thoughts, lessons learned, and individual character.

Poetry Specifics

All poetry submissions must be typed in 12pt Times New Roman font, double spaced and between 200-500 words. Poems must be uploaded as a .doc or .docx, no PDFs or Pages files. Must be in the teen’s own, original voice reflecting on their experience being impacted by cancer, personal insights, original thoughts, lessons learned, and individual character.

Artwork Specifics

All artwork submissions must include an artist statement that is typed in 12pt Times New Roman font and between 200-500 words. The artist statement should give context to the submission and how it relates to the teen’s cancer story. All artwork must be original and the sole work of the student. Artwork submissions may include: paint, pencil, markers, ink, crayon, photography, collage, woodcuts, block prints, silk screen, monoprints, lithographs, computer art, pastel or chalk. No color photocopies of art will be accepted; original pieces must be mailed or delivered in person.

Video Specifics

All video submissions must include an artist statement that is typed in 12pt Times New Roman font and between 200-500 words. The artist statement should give context to the submission and how it relates to the teen’s cancer story. The video must be 2-4 minutes long, original, and the sole work of the student. Videos must be uploaded to YouTube and shared via URL.

Gilda's Club Westchester: 2021 Teen Cancer Story Contest

We are looking for original, honest, detailed, and heartfelt multimedia submissions by local teens in the Westchester, Rockland, and lower Fairfield County area who can share their experience with cancer through essay, poetry, artwork, or video pieces.

Multimedia topics may include:

  • Living with cancer
  • Loving someone (family member or friend) who lived with cancer
  • Losing someone to cancer

Deadline for completed pieces of work is 5pm on June 18, 2021. Artwork that is submitted via mail must be postmarked or scheduled to be dropped off at the Clubhouse by June 17, 2021.

If submitting artwork in-person, email Jaime Aker at jaker@gildasclubwestchester.org to schedule the drop off.



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