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9-year-old Mechanicsville girl wins national art contest

Emme Oberbreckling completed her painting soon after a successful kidney transplant

“Transplant Love,” a painting by Emme Oberbreckling of Mechanicsville, will be featured on the cover of the American Kidney Fund’s 2020 calendar after receiving the most votes in the organization’s national calendar art contest. (American Kidney Fund)
“Transplant Love,” a painting by Emme Oberbreckling of Mechanicsville, will be featured on the cover of the American Kidney Fund’s 2020 calendar after receiving the most votes in the organization’s national calendar art contest. (American Kidney Fund)
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A 9-year-old Mechanicsville girl recently won a national calendar art contest sponsored by the American Kidney Fund.

Emme Oberbreckling’s artwork will appear on the cover of the organization’s 2020 calendar and she also will be a special guest at the national gala, “The Hope Affair,” on Oct. 2 in Washington, D.C.

Emme was one of 13 pediatric kidney patient finalists vying for the calendar cover, according to a news release. Each child’s artwork was posted to organization’s website to be voted on by the public.

Thousands of people across the country cast their votes for the winner and Emme’s painting, “Transplant Love,” received more than 30 percent of the vote total. She completed her painting in an art therapy session on her last day in the hospital following a successful kidney transplant.

“I feel really happy,” Emme said. “I’m excited that other kids with kidney disease will be able to see my painting and maybe be inspired by it.”

Her mother, Marcy Oberbreckling, said she and her husband, Andrew, were “very grateful and humbled that our daughter’s artwork was chosen. Art was her favorite thing to do during dialysis and she became very close to her art therapist, Kamila.”

Emme’s father donated his kidney to Emme. The name of her painting is a reference to the love her family has shown her throughout the kidney transplant process, according to American Kidney Fund.

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The kidney organization has a yearly calendar contest that provides an opportunity for pediatric kidney patients to express themselves through artwork, helping to increase awareness of kidney disease for the 31 million Americans living with chronic kidney disease.

The 2020 calendar featuring Emme’s artwork will be published in October and available for purchase on the fund website.

“Emme’s painting is symbolic of the strength and positivity with which she takes on her fight against kidney disease,” LaVarne A. Burton, president and CEO of the American Kidney Fund, said in a statement. “We are grateful to all the young artists who submitted their work and we congratulate Emme on receiving the most votes. We look forward to welcoming her at The Hope Affair this fall.”

More than 60 children and teens with kidney disease from across the United States submitted their artwork for this popular annual contest, now in its 24th year. This was the first year for entries to include non-visual forms of art, including poetry. Poems by two finalists also will appear in the 2020 calendar.

The American Kidney Fund fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nation’s leading kidney nonprofit. The fund 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.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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