Gilda's Club Chicago Celebrates 7th Annual Teen Essay Contest

Published 4.21.2016

Celebrity judges laud teens for sharing inspirational stories of their cancer journeys

During our 7th annual “It’s Always Something” Teen Essay Contest, we honored 79 teens who submitted personal and profound stories of their cancer journeys. Thirty teens were present for the awards ceremony, along with five of the thirteen celebrity judges including, Chicago Blackhawks head coach, Joel Quenneville and his wife Elizabeth Quenneville;  SLAP’D (Surviving Life After a Parent Dies) founder, Genevieve Liu; Director of Marketing at Relativity Baseball, Lou Hernandez; and Mike Oquendo of the Mikey O Comedy Show.  Among the judges unable to attend were Anthony Rizzo, Jarrett Payton, Robin and Stephanie Ventura and Leslie Forman.  The first place winners each received $3,000. Three winners were awarded in two different categories.

Winners in the “Personal Cancer Diagnosis” category were:

3rd place: Joe Nudo, John Hersey High School – “Lesson Learned”

2nd place: Liam Knudsen, Marian Central Catholic High School – “How my Perspective was Changed”

1st place: Katie Jorgensen, Joliet Catholic Academy – “Lost”

Winners in the “Friend or Family Member Diagnosed with Cancer or Have Lost a Loved One to Cancer” category were:

3rd place: Daphne Wang, Warren Township High School – “Runaway”

2nd place: Connor Graver, Prospect High School – “Change”

1st place: Grace Gardner, Latin School of Chicago – “Awkward: How I Overcame Self-Consciousness in the Wake of my Father’s Death”

About the contest, our CEO, LauraJane Hyde said, “Every year, I am moved by the eloquence and grace of the teens as they share their stories. We are honored to bring the community that is Gilda’s Club Chicago together for such a special evening.”

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