Essay contest winners wrote around being diagnosed via cancer, a father"s death and also biking to lose weight


Arianna Valdez (second from left) hangs out with her family.Photo by Arianna’s mother, Nora Valdez

I was 14 years old and also assumed I kbrand-new it all. I had actually great grades at school, however at residence I fought a lot via my mommy and stepdad. My parental fees divorced once I was young, and also I occurred anger towards my father for leaving my mommy. I had become far-off from my extfinished family too. I couldn’t stand my hair; I complained around it eincredibly day. I am an just boy, but I have actually a stepbrother whom I hated. I wanted nopoint more than to hang out via my friends. I constantly wanted to be left alone, listening to music, surfing the internet, you name it. I was always bitter and also crabby. I took my life for granted.

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May 2010, I’m diagnosed via cancer. Over 2 months, I was being tested and also had actually two surgeries to identify if I was still in a very early phase and might be spared the infamous chemotreatment and also radiation therapy. Luckily, the cancer hadn’t spreview into my bloodstream and cleaning out the tumors would certainly be basic. Although it didn’t last as long as you would certainly suppose, those two months were hell. I cried myself to sleep eincredibly night, fearing the changes that accompanied chemo. I would certainly have to be home-schooled. Chemo would cause me to be nauseous, weak, tired. I’d have to be on a strict diet—unhealthy and balanced food could obtain me sick. I would shed all my hair. I would certainly have tubes associated to my heart coming out of my chest, and also so much more. Thankcompletely, after the second surgery I was cancer totally free. Of course, I need to reprimary in remission and also observation for five years to be certain the cancer doesn’t come ago, but there’s only a tiny opportunity it will certainly. 

At initially, I didn’t understand why I had obtained cancer. I would think, “Why me? What did I execute to deserve this? Does God hate me? How could he let anyone experience what I’m suffering? Especially a kid!” 

Once I started accepting that this was genuine and also I couldn’t do anything however fight it, I figured I would certainly reap my life as lengthy as I could before acquiring really sick. I began hanging out with my family more. I spent the weekends through my aunts and cousins, or via my dad and also his side of the family members. It was tough to carry out as well much, though, because I spent more time at the hospital than I did at my home.

Once I was “cancer totally free,” I was still stuck with the mentality that it might come ago at any kind of moment, and also I would regret not having actually enjoyed my life as a lot as I can have. I determined that from then on, I would certainly live life to its fullest. I wouldn’t take anything for granted. I would try brand-new things. I would certainly love my brvarious other and also my parental fees, foroffer my father, take many pictures, smile, laugh and act goofy. I’d be outgoing.

Two years later on, I’m still cancer free. Three more to go till I’m taken into consideration safe. I have to say, God answered my questions. Why did I have actually cancer? Why me? Because my life was going to waste. I was a selfish, inconsideprice, stubborn, unforoffering, caremuch less, bratty yet shy girl. But as soon as the cancer hit, it completely adjusted me. When I experienced my mom cry, it hurt me. When I heard my dad’s voice crack, his one and just boy, his daughter, diagnosed through cancer, I regretted ever before being mad at him. When my stepbrother and cousins were speechless, I reassured them. As I cried, my aunt held my hand also and cried with me. She even checked out appointments through my parents and also me. 

I’m not the very same girl I was before I had cancer. Today, I take also many photos, smile as well much, goof off too much. My brother and also I have actually end up being close and my cousins have their “substantial sister” ago. Cancer lugged my family back together. Sometimes my hair is difficult to regulate, but I can’t say I hate it. Don’t wait for somepoint like cancer to come about and also adjust your life. Take it upon yourself to make points best and also truly worth living for.

lMy dad’s death turned my civilization upside down

2nd area $30

By Christopher Colchado, Hollywood HS

The second I heard the news from my mother virtually salso years back, “Your dad died. He’s in a better area currently,” it changed my life so much. Those were the the majority of painful words I have ever heard. I had actually no father anyeven more. Never before will certainly I be able to hug him or tell him that I love him or talk about my troubles via him because he’s gone. People always say that somebody never before truly leaves you, that their soul is right here no issue what. Well, deserve to you hug a spirit, deserve to you cry on their shoulder? Will a spirit teach you things? It is difficult.

After my father passed away, my entirety civilization broke down. My brother came to be a delinquent and made my mommy cry night after night and all we did was fight. I felt no support from anybody. I tried being strong yet it was difficult because the pain I felt was so unbearable that I might not assist yet break down every time I was alone. To my family I appeared to be heartless through no emotion yet nobody interpreted that I was hiding it, trying to protect my mommy from feeling even more pain. The hardest point I have actually ever done was pretend that my father’s death did not make me sad, as soon as in reality I was devastated beyond idea.

Before my father passed away, I was a straight-A student. For a while I offered up on institution. Last year it ultimately hit me that my mommy is still approximately and I must job-related on making her proud rather of disappointing everybody. She has actually done nothing however take treatment of my brvarious other and also me so I did my best and almost gained right As as soon as again. Now I understand how much you need to appreciate your parental fees and loved ones bereason once they die nobody will carry them earlier no matter exactly how much it harms or exactly how much you miss out on them. I constantly tell my mother that I love her because I learned my lesboy via my dad.

This occurrence changed my life when I was young, yet recently it changed my life aobtain. I have actually learned how to live life. I learned just how beautiful points are and also just how to gain them while they are there. Even though I have been via much battle with my household, I still love life and also being alive as a lot as I miss out on somebody that is dead. I recognize that perhaps I will certainly see them as soon as I die. Until then I am going to live my life to its fullest and also never look earlier.

lA bike assisted me lose weight

3rd Place $20

By Victor Loza, Marshall Fundamental HS (Pasadena)

A life-changing minute in my life was Dec. 24, 2010. On now, I purchased my bike. I was constantly a lazy child that never before participated in any type of kind of physical activity. I was extremely overweight—nearly 300 pounds. I was upset with myself, always reasoning, “How did I let this happen?” 

Being able to grab the bike and also take it for a ride was hard. I didn’t know wright here to ride. I didn’t have actually anyone to ride via or to motivate me. 

I would ride my bike for 20 minutes and also I’d be tired. That’s how out of form I was. Little by bit I got even more in my comfort zone. Video games were coming to be something I would do once I wasn’t able to leave the house. My family noticed weight loss. I never before noticed. Then someday I put on shorts that provided to fit snug and also now were baggy. After noticing that I started to feel extremely happy.

School was out for summer and I had actually simply turned 16 years old. I had actually met some friends who likewise rode bikes. Our goal for the summer was to simply ride. We would go on long rides and also only speak to rehydprice, eat or sleep. In the middle of the summer I had actually a doctor’s appointment. I weighed in and the physician told me I had actually shed 20 pounds! I was proud of myself. I was exploring the people, shedding weight and also acquiring self-confidence by riding a bike.

By the finish of summer I had lost around 50 pounds. If it wasn’t for that bike I would have more than likely been writing about acquiring a high score in a video clip game. Cycling has readjusted my life. I have actually shed lots of weight I never before thought I was going to be able to shed. I currently recognize my city a lot much better and I’m not always indoors hiding from this great civilization. My confidence has actually boosted and I will carry this life-altering endure via me throughout my life.


HMy baby sister lugged my household together

Honorable mention

By Katherin Albizures, Hollylumber HS

A minute that eventually gave my life a huge turning allude was the birth of my baby sister Kaylee. She changed the way I witnessed points and she made me come to be a much better person. Even though she has actually just been in my life for a year, she’s the best thing that has actually taken place to my family members.

After my paleas acquired divorced, it was always just three civilization living under the very same roof. My mom, younger sister and also I were living together and it was many fun because we hung out at the mall, saw the movies, ate a new restaurants, and so on. I was supplied to my small family members and also I favored exactly how it only consisted of three human being.

When I was around 9 years old, my mom got a boyfriend, whom I didn’t think much of. It was a long-distance partnership, so I honestly believed that they were not going to last lengthy. However before, when I was 13, my mom told us that he was going to come and live with us, but I ignored her because I assumed she was joking. One week later, without a single warning, he was at my dooraction smiling down at us as if his existence was meant to make me happy.

I really dispreferred every little thing he did and said. He tried to make us laugh, yet I only stood tbelow via a empty expression on my challenge. He cooked for us, however I denied eating his food. Basically, I was an intolerant brat that did not desire to provide him a chance. After a while, I believed he was going to leave due to the therapy my sister and I were providing him. My mother started to have actually problems through him bereason he constantly complained about us and all she told him wregarding try harder to win us over. I thought that I had lastly obtained rid of him till Christmas morning, my mom told me that she was pregnant and that we were going to have actually a baby sister. I was happy via the principle of having actually a small baby roughly, but it was upsetting to know that my stepdad would certainly have to stick around currently. My mother started to obtain weaker by her seventh month of pregnancy, so we all had to occupational together to aid my mommy out. My stepdad and also I common the kitchen to make dinner and after awhile, there was no tension. We had little conversations and offered each various other tips for some recipes. I chose to provide him a opportunity bereason it was the leastern I might execute after all the negative treatment I had given him. He turned out to be a pretty cool guy after all.

As soon as Kaylee was born, we came to be a united family members. We went on trips together and also we all gained along. It’s crazy to think that one huguy being could have actually this astronomical affect on everyone else, so that they adjust for the much better. My stepdad and also I always joke approximately via each various other now and also sometimes I even present him as my dad. Any time I require a favor, he’s always there to aid in any type of way he have the right to. My mother is ultimately happy to see that I gave someone a possibility to enter our resides. I guess what I was really afrassist of was letting someone enter my life understanding that one day they would leave aget, like my dad did. However, I know that my action dad is various and that he will stay. I’m glad that our household currently includes five people instead of three. It seems finish and also I hope it will always continue to be that way.

HCaring for my nephew forced me to thrive up

Honorable mention

By Osauto Reyes, Paramount HS

My nephew was born on Nov. 15, 2011, yet I didn’t think a lot of it at the moment. As shortly as my sister came house my life started to readjust much even more than I meant. Throughout the next few months I might not imagine a more tiring time of my life, but more rewarding than anything.

In this brief time I started to take on brand-new obligations roughly my house. I’m not the one to typically do chores. But as quickly as the baby came right into the home, I was responsible for taking care of him while my sister was busy doing chores. I had actually to learn just how to feed him, which was pretty simple. Then, awhile later I had to learn exactly how to adjust him, which was type of hard because I really didn’t recognize what I was doing fifty percent the moment, due to me not learning which side goes on which side. Though I later on learned how to grasp changing a baby, it was pretty tough then. As shortly as I came home from college, I had to take care of the kid, which didn’t last lengthy because he would fall asleep pretty easily. The initially month of this new perkid in my life wasn’t too negative because I still remained the same as prior to, just through a few more obligations.

Quick track six months, my life has actually really readjusted drastically. My nephew obtained older, so I had actually to learn even more responsibilities and also this expected I had much less totally free time. As shortly as I came house from institution, my sister checked out job-related, so I had actually to take treatment of the boy as usual. It was different though. Now he didn’t fall asleep as rapid, which expected I couldn’t execute what I usually did. I likewise didn’t have actually much time to execute my homejob-related. This was a difficult time because I spent my complimentary time doing nothing yet staring at the TV. I wasn’t acquiring sufficient sleep so I couldn’t keep my eyes open up in the time of course. My grades dropped in my second semester and my parents were sort of mad about that. If that wasn’t negative sufficient, in the time of the middle of the night as soon as I’m asleep, the baby generally wakes up so I need to feed him for at least 20 minutes bereason my sister is either exhausted from job-related or she is doing her college homeoccupational. Then I go to sleep and also wake up exhausted and my cycle repeats. I felt favor I wanted to give up.

I thshould myself, “I must change my habits if I desire to succeed in life and also be an excellent role model for him.” I began to use my totally free time during course to do my homejob-related at an early stage instead of dozing off into space. As shortly as I came home from college, I’d take care of my nephew and also as he dropped to sleep, I’d swiftly perform my homejob-related. I still had actually some absent assignments here and also there, but I enhanced my qualities. Now I had even more free time and also even more time to sleep. I did all this bereason once you care around someone so a lot, you’re willing to do anypoint for them.

Although I had a tough time via my nephew, it was worth it because I learned not to be a lazy child anymore and prosper up. Having my nephew was good bereason he brought joy to my entirety family members and also nopoint is greater than that. He also gave me a great life leschild. In life you may feel prefer you simply want to offer up, but you have to realize the prize is much higher than you can imagine.

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lNext off essay contest: A moral dilemma

When we’re young the distinction in between appropriate and also wrong is clear: respect your parents, always tell the reality. But as we obtain older it becomes harder to execute the appropriate thing, and we might also begin to question whether something is really that bad. Tell us about a time when you challenged a ethical dilemma. Maybe a classmate asked if they might cwarmth off your test, or you were out via friends who began shoplifting or someone available you drugs at a party. Describe the instance and define why it was hard to understand what to do, prefer possibly you felt the press to fit in. What decision did you ultimately make and just how did it influence you? 

Write an essay to L.A. Youth and tell us around it:

Essays need to be a web page or even more. Include your name, school, age and also phone number via your essay. The staff of L.A. Youth will certainly read the entries and pick three winners.Your name will be withorganized if you request it. The first-location winner will receive $50. The second-location winner will certainly acquire $30 and the third-area winner will receive $20. Winning esclaims will certainly be printed in our November-December 2012 problem and also posted on

Mail your essay to:L.A. Youth5967 W. 3rd St. Suite 301Los Angeles CA 90036or to essays