GPs often tell me that their favourite part of their job is the relationships that they are able to build with patients. Often GPs are present at the most vulnerable times of people’s lives and being able to help – even in some small way – is a great gift. It was to reflect this often forgotten aspect of general practice that motivated Pulse to run a writing competition this year on the theme of 'a cry for help'. We wanted to ask our readers to write about a time when a patient or colleague turned to them for assistance, or they needed a helping hand themselves. I am really delighted that we had so many excellent entries and it was a hard job choosing the finalists, all of whom are published in this month’s Pulse magazine. They are a really good read and show what it means to be a GP. In contrast to the recent ‘Nothing General’ marketing campaign for general practice in England, there is not a form-filling, box-ticking exercise here. In fact, many of the stories are about when GPs break the rules and go the extra mile for their patients. The winning entry comes from Dr Renee Hoenderkamp a GP in her first year after training, and is a moving story about how she supported a young patient who initially refused to engage with her. Expertly written, it has an emotional punch that we could not ignore. It was a well deserved first place and is a great read. In the under 35s category, the winner was an excellent entry from GP trainee Dr Heather Ryan. Her piece explains a situation where she was the only person able to help alleviate a patient’s anxiety over their diagnosis. A heartfelt story that shows that it is sometimes it is more important to be kind. All the finalists are listed below and I encourage you to read them all if you have the time. At a time when all practices across the country are struggling, this is a vital celebration of general practice and the important role it plays in all our lives. Winner: 'I knew I was breaking every rule' - Dr Renee Hoenderkamp Under 35s winner: Sometimes it is more important to be kind – Dr Heather Ryan Second place: My son’s call for help saved me - Dr Helen Cotton Third place: 'I tried to speak, but no words came' - Dr Richard Cook Runner-up: Yes, doctors sometimes need help too - Dr Celine Inglis Special mention: Why aren’t you marching with us? - Dr Rachel Brettell