2015 Andre Sobel Award Winners

The Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Andre Sobel Award a national essay contest for teen survivors of life-threatening illness.

First Prize:  Bayleigh Phillips, Alabama
Second  Prize:  Divontae Buchanan, Illinois
Third Prize:  Katherine Nelson, New York 
Honorable Mention:  Janna Corsetti, New Hampshire

This year’s winners were selected from a field of over 80 entrants who wrote, “The Letter I Wish I had Received from a Friend or Relative When I Was Ill.”  In personal, wise, humorous and sometimes searing letters, teens reflect on how illness has changed their relationships and their lives. They bravely revisit their darkest hours of illness, treatment and recovery and share what they most needed to hear. Winners receive a cash award they may use to fulfill a cherished dream.  The Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation thanks all entrants for their time and thoughtfully written entries. 



Meet First Prize Winner Bayleigh Phillips

Bayleigh’s top place essay, Letter from Boyfriends, expresses her belief that someone special will see beyond her cancer to her true self..some day. 



Third Prize Awarded to Katherine Nelson

Katherine found that focusing on the present moment was what she could do best. Read her advice to young survivors in her poetic “Breathe.” Katherine’s companion writer, father
Glen Nelson, also writes the letter he wished he had received. 



Janna Corsetti Takes Honorable Mention
Janna offers confidence and solace to newly diagnosed young patients with her advice, “don’t be a robot,” and, “it’s okay to freak out!” Read her Letter from a Friend here.