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Teen Essay and Photo Contest Kicks Off Today

Essay Contest - Dear Cancer Logo

Essay Contest - Its Me Logo

Teen Essay and Photo Contest for High School Students in Southern California

(from Van Nuys to Santa Barbara)

Are you a cancer survivor?

Have you helped a family member or friend with cancer?

Share Your Story

  • Write 500-2,000 words about your experience OR submit a minimum 3-photo essay
  • Submit by midnight on January 10, 2014
  • Submit all entries to
  • Awards dinner Thursday, March 13, 2014

Prizes (awarded in both written and photo contests in personal and family/friend categories):

1st Place: Apple iPad mini (wi-fi; 32 GB) and $500

2nd Place: Apple iPad mini (wi-fi; 32 GB)

3rd Place: $250

Click on the links below to download entry forms and guidelines:

Essay Contest Entry Form

Essay Contest Flyer

Essay Contest Guidelines

Essay Contest Photo Guidelines

Essay Contest Release Form

This activity is supported by educational donations provided by:

Amgen_4_Black_PC_copygenentech_logoanthem logo - new


Demystifying Cancer: Overcoming Challenges and Winning the War

“Cancer is a real consequence of who and what we are biologically and what has to happen inside cells every time they divide. A mistake only has to be made in one of those cells in the right gene and you’re off to the races. So cancer is a consequence of being alive. Now the issue is, let’s make it not a life-ending disease.” — Dennis Slamon, MD, Ph.D., Keynote Speaker, Demystifying Cancer

Karen Eckhardt, CSCVVSB VP Development & Communications; Jody Tompkins, CSCVVSB VP of Programs; Cathy Cole, Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center; Suzanne Drace, CSCVVSB President

Karen Eckhardt, CSCVVSB VP Communications and Development; Jody Tompkins, MA, LMFT, CSCVVSB VP Programs; Cathy Cole, RNC, NP, MPH, CHES, CBPN-IC, Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center Nurse Navigator; Suzanne Drace, CSCVVSB President

Jody Tompkins, MA, LMFT, was recently invited to participate in a panel discussion for Demystifying Cancer: Overcoming Challenges and Winning the War. This free educational community forum was presented by UCLA Health and included discussion from those on the frontline of cancer treatment and research.

As Vice President of Programs at Cancer Support Community Valley/Ventura/Santa Barbara, Jody spoke about the psychosocial component of cancer care – a crucial aspect of treating the whole patient. At CSCVVSB Jody oversees a comprehensive slate of programs to address the psychosocial needs of cancer survivors and their families.  Jody supervises a clinical staff of 15 licensed psychotherapists with over 300 years combined experience working in the field of psychosocial support and cancer related issues.


The event took place October 30th at the Ronald Reagan Library’s Air Force One Pavilion

The Demystifying Cancer event took place on October 30th at the Ronald Reagan Library’s Air Force One Pavilion. Keynote speaker Dennis Slamon, MD, Ph.D. is chief of the Division of Hematology Oncology, Executive vice-Chair for research and Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He is also Director of Clinical/Translational Research at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

In addition to Jody Tompkins, MA, LMFT, the panel included John A. Glaspy, MD, MPH, Hematology & Medical Oncology UCLA Health, Department of Medicine; Craig Inouye, MD, Diagnostic Radiology Simi Valley Hospital & Health Care Services Dept. of Diagnostic Imaging; Anita Kaul, MD, Hematology & Medical Oncology UCLA Health, Department of Medicine; Victor G. Schweitzer, MD, Radiation Oncology Simi Valley Radiation Oncology Center-Part of the Coastal Radiation Oncology Medical Group; Martin C. Palmer, MD, FRCPC, FRACP, Hematology & Medical Oncology UCLA Health, Department of Medicine; Jim Rondeau, Director, Operations/Programming KCLU; and Joni Eareckson Tada, Founder, Chief Executive Officer Joni and Friends International Disability Center.

Volunteers extraordinaire:  Jesse and Lianne Ingalla, at the CSCVVSB table

Volunteers extraordinaire: Jesse and Lianne Ingalla, at the CSCVVSB table

“This is a unique event bringing together many voices on the cancer care spectrum including world renowned researchers, clinicians, and psychosocial experts.,” said Robbie Gluckson, Director of Marketing, Development & Community Outreach for UCLA Health. “It takes a village of comprehensive care to meet the needs of each and every cancer patient and their loved ones. CSCVVSB is a long time friend of UCLA Health, and we are proud to work together toward the common goal of exemplary care for cancer patients.”