APRIL 15 | 2019


Has cancer affected your life?
Tell us your story!

Are you a cancer survivor?
Have you helped a family member or friend deal with cancer?
Have you lost someone to cancer?

Cancer Support Community Greater Philadelphia is holding its 7th annual Ben Strauss 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.

Contest Prizes

1st Place


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2nd Place


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3rd Place





Read the 2018 winning essays!

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 Signed Entry form required.
  • 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.
  • Winners’ schools will be notified. 
  • All essays and photos will be posted on our website.

Winning Essays/Awards Ceremony

  • Winners will be informed on Wednesday, May 1st.
  • All writers are invited to attend Awards ceremony Tuesday, May 21st 7 p.m.

Essay Deadline

  • 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.