ROCKVILLE, Md. (July 6, 2022) — Thirteen young kidney patients from across the country are vying to become the cover artist for the American Kidney Fund's (AKF) 2023 calendar.
The 13 finalists in AKF's 27th annual Calendar Kids Art Contest are seeking votes from their friends and the public through AKF's online voting system. All 13 finalists will receive a gift card and will have their art published in the calendar, which will be available for purchase in October. Each young artist who entered the contest lives with kidney disease.
While the finalists this year were all visual art entries, the contest also welcomes writing, music and video submissions. The artwork that gets the most votes in AKF's online contest will appear on the calendar cover, and the young artist will also win a trip to Washington, D.C., to be honored at AKF's annual gala, The Hope Affair, on Oct. 19. Online voting to select the cover art is underway on AKF's website and will continue until July 31.
The Calendar Kids Art Contest finalists, whose work will appear in the 2023 AKF calendar, are:
- Lamara Al-Nadi, 16, Hendersonville, Tennessee ("Best Gift Ever"): Lamara is a transplant recipient who learned of the contest through her art teacher, Blake Long (the father of the 2012 Calendar Kids Art Contest winner). Lamara's artwork is a reminder that her kidney transplant will always be the best gift she's ever received.
- Daniel Salgadovalencia, 10, Phoenix, Arizona ("Together Forever"): Daniel is a hemodialysis patient, receiving his treatments three times a week. His role model is his doctor, and he hopes to become a doctor when he grows up.
- Kylie McGlothin, 15, Weirton, West Virginia ("Kidney Transplant"): Kylie does her dialysis treatments at home. She enjoys drawing, painting, writing and reading and hopes one day to be a writer or someone in the art community.
- Anibal Yobani Sologui, 12, Waterloo, Iowa ("Love Your Kidneys"): Anibal received a kidney transplant earlier this year. His artwork features two kidneys with a Valentine's Day twist: one holding a heart and one dressed as Cupid. Anibal loves soccer and says Lionel Messi is his role model.
- Jameson Lesieur, 9, Washougal, Washington ("The Lion King"): Jameson has nephrotic syndrome. In his drawing, a lion is roaring on top of a mountain. Jameson says his art teacher is his role model because "she is so nice and generous."
- Natalie Medina, 16, Dallas, Texas ("Kidney Love"): Natalie drew a self-portrait for her submission, showing herself holding and giving love to an injured kidney. She hopes her artwork shows that even if a kidney is not working properly, there is still hope it can be fixed. Natalie would like to be a nurse to give back to all the children who are going through a hard time like she has as a dialysis patient.
- Kennidi Davis, 17, Humble, Texas ("Lupus Girl"): Kennidi's artwork depicts "Lupus Girl," a superhero who encourages young children who have been diagnosed with lupus to be strong. Kennidi has lupus nephritis and hopes that her drawing will inspire others with the disease to be strong.
- Arely Barragan, 16, Houston, Texas ("H.O.P.E."): Arely was inspired to enter the contest because she wanted to be like the other children whose art has been featured in previous calendars. A dialysis patient, Arely says her role model is her nurse Esperanza who "always has a smile on her face and makes us laugh like no other."
- Nashaya Latimore-Coates, 16, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ("It's all in the words"): Nashaya's artwork shows a beautiful sky, but she wants people to focus more on the words she included: "Accept what is, let go of what was & have faith in what will be." She hopes that her submission will inspire others, including those with chronic kidney disease like her.
- Erin Cortese, 12, Colorado Springs, Colorado ("Smile"): Erin says her mom helps her with her kidney disease. Erin is a dialysis patient and sometimes has to miss school for her treatments. For her submission, she created a painting of a smile in the sky.
- Stephanie Atenco-Torres, 17, Norristown, Pennsylvania ("Everybody gets their wish"): In her drawing, Stephanie depicts a story in which a fairy godmother fixes a young girl's kidney. Stephanie loves to draw, but she hopes to someday work in fashion as a designer or journalist and says one of her heroes is the singer/songwriter Hope Sandoval for being a successful woman of color in a male-dominated industry.
- Heather Burdick, 11, Des Moines, Washington ("Kidneys on a Beach"): Heather enjoys doing arts and crafts while she receives her dialysis treatments. To help her friends and family understand her condition, Heather writes stories about dialysis machines.
- Eilidh McMillin, 6, Ankeny, Iowa ("Galaxy"): Eilidh heard about the contest from her mother, who she hopes to be like because she bakes, drives and takes care of Eilidh. Eilidh is proud of her painting skills and that she is a good dancer. She hopes to be an artist and a doctor someday.
"I am always impressed by the courage shown by the children who submit entries to our Calendar Kids Art Contest, and this year's finalists are no exception," said LaVarne A. Burton, President and CEO of the American Kidney Fund. "These young artists have the strength and fortitude to take on kidney disease, while maintaining their hope for a positive and healthy future."
Since 1995, the AKF Calendar Kids Art Contest has provided an opportunity for pediatric dialysis and kidney transplant patients to express themselves through artwork and to receive national recognition. Distributed nationwide, AKF's calendar helps raise awareness of kidney disease and the importance of prevention and early detection. It is estimated that each year, 1 in 65,000 children in the United States have kidney failure, which can only be treated by dialysis or transplantation.
The 2023 calendars will be available for purchase through AKF's website beginning in October. For more information about the Calendar Kids Art Contest and other AKF programs for children, visit KidneyFund.org.
About the American Kidney Fund
The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nation’s leading kidney nonprofit. AKF works on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through transplant. With programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy, no kidney organization impacts more lives than AKF. One of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, AKF invests 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, earning the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 20 years in a row as well as the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly GuideStar.