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11-17-23 — Frontier Trail Student Wins National Art Contest for Pediatric Kidney Patients

Nov. 17, 2023 ~ Hannah Ehrlich, sixth grader at Frontier Trail Middle School, won the American Kidney Fund’s (AKF) 28th annual national Calendar Kids Art Contest and was honored at the AKF’s national gala, The Hope Affair, in Washington, D.C. in October.

“It was super fun,” Ehrlich said. “I kind of wish it lasted longer because we didn’t have a lot of time to look around, but my favorite part was the gala and getting to see everybody.”

Hannah holds calendar with her art on the coverEhrlich lives with stage 3 chronic kidney disease and was one of 13 pediatric kidney patient finalists competing to have their artwork featured on the calendar’s cover. According to her, she applied to the contest because she wanted to share her colorful design with other kids and families in the kidney community. Members of the public were able to give their input and voted on their favorite artwork on the AKF website. Ehrlich’s piece, “Kidney Disease Awareness,” features a kidney filled with different patterns and colors, surrounded by hashtags related to kidney disease and green kidney disease awareness ribbons.

"Hannah's drawing is not only beautiful, incorporating intricate patterns in the design, but it also shares an important message about spreading awareness of her disease," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF president and CEO. "We congratulate her on being selected this year's cover artist and are grateful for all the unique, creative submissions from this year's contestants.”

According to Ehrlich, living with stage 3 chronic kidney disease at her age certainly isn’t easy, but the support she receives from her friends and family is abundant. Even though she may get sick more often, have to go to more appointments than other kids and get lab work done more than other kids, she says she’s really a normal kid.

“Sometimes it’s hard to tell (my friends) about what I have to go through, because there’s a lot for them to know,” Ehrlich said. “But they’re super supporting and always listen.”

One key person in her support system is her father, Todd Ehrlich, a pediatric nurse at Children’s Mercy Hospital. He goes to all of Hannah’s appointments and always encourages her to make healthy choices. Hannah brings some of her artwork to all her appointments, and it’s there when the doctor discovered it and informed them about the art contest. Hannah loves art, but when she gets older, she wants to follow in her father’s footsteps and help children in the medical field, perhaps even go into nephrology.

“I want to help other kids who can relate to me since I can relate to them,” Ehrlich said. “I think it would be cool to have somebody as your nephrologist who can relate to what you’re going through.”

The 2024 calendar featuring Ehrlich’s cover art is available on the AKF website.