APRIL 1 | 2024


Has cancer affected your life?
Every cancer experience deserves to be heard!

Are you a childhood cancer survivor?
Have you helped a family member or friend deal with cancer?
Are you grieving a loss from cancer?

Cancer Support Community Greater Philadelphia is holding its 11th annual Ben Strauss Youth Essay Contests for Teens to share their stories about how cancer has been in their lives.

A cancer diagnosis can unleash a storm of emotions, questions, and unexpected discoveries, not just for the person with cancer—but for family and friends too!

We are looking for honest, detailed, personal essays by writers in 6th–12th grade who demonstrate an authentic ability to move readers by sharing their experience with cancer.

Please refer to the guidelines below for eligibility, rules and the judging process.

Contest Prizes

1st Place


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2nd Place


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3rd Place


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Click to read the 2023 winners!

Contest Guidelines


  • Students must have a cancer connection and live in Bucks, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Delaware or Chester Counties
  • Middle School contest is for 6th–8th grades. 
  • High School contest is for 9th–12th grades.

Entry Rules

  • Each student may submit only one original essay authored by the student.
  • Parent permission is required.
  • Digital Photo required.
  • Middle School contest 500–750 words.
  • High School contest 750–1500 words.
  • Include essay title at the top of each page.
  • Do NOT include name on the essay.

Winning Essays/Awards Ceremony

  • Winners will be informed on Wednesday, April 24, 2024
  • Winners’ schools will be notified.
  • All writers are invited to attend Awards ceremony Tuesday, May 14, 2024 @ 7pm CSCGP Gilda’s Club, 200 Kirk Rd. Warminster PA 18974

Essay Deadline

  • Digital entry form, essay and photo must be submitted to by 7pm on Wednesday, April 1, 2024.
  • Essays must be emailed as a word document.
  • Photos must be a jpeg file.
  • After all 3 pieces are submitted, an acceptance email will be sent confirming your submissions and that you met the guidelines.
  • Late entries will not be accepted.

Judging Process

Essays are evaluated in a fair and unbiased judging process. Submissions will be evaluated on:

  • Personal voice: Judges will be looking for an interesting engaging essay told in your own words. The essay should describe your experience and an overall message about how your experience with cancer impacted your life.
  • Clarity and Style: Judges will look for a clear and consistent focus in your writing and a logical progression of ideas. Good grammar, accurate word choices, correct punctuation, and varying sentence structure should be used.

All essays and photos will be posted on CSCGP website, social media and used in CSCGP programs and fundraisers.

 The Teen Essay Contest is graciously sponsored by the Ben Strauss Youth Program.