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"Never, ever play the 'what if?' game" - Survivor Day at UWS

Eleni Pinnow

The Pinnow family broke some new ground when they wrote their daughter's obituary almost two years ago.

  "Aletha Meyer Pinnow, 31, of Duluth,  died from depression and suicide on Feb. 20, 2016."

And Aletha's sister, Eleni, has been breaking new ground herself as she deals, daily, with what she calls "a really, really different kind of grief."

And it's brought her to organizing the first Survivor Day at UWS, a chance for people who have been through a particular kind of hell to find -- and support each other.

Eleni has partnered with mental health organizations like NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and  NAMI-Douglas County, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to hold Survivors Day, and also groups like the Native Nations Student Organization and the Veterans and Nontraditional Student Center at UWS.  Suicide rates among Native people and veterans have been of long-term concern. 

Lisa Johnson started her broadcast career anchoring the television news at her high school and spinning country music at KWWK/KOLM Radio in Rochester, Minnesota. She was a reporter and news anchor at KTHI in Fargo, ND (not to mention the host of a children's program called "Lisa's Lane") and a radio reporter and anchor in Moorhead, Bismarck, Wahpeton and Fergus Falls.Since 1991, she has hosted Northland Morning on KUMD. One of the best parts of her job includes "paying it forward" by mentoring upcoming journalists and broadcasters on the student news team that helps produce Northland Morning. She also loves introducing the different people she meets in her job to one another, helping to forge new "community connections" and partnerships.Lisa has amassed a book collection weighing over two tons, and she enjoys reading, photography, volunteering with Animal Allies Humane Society and fantasizing about farmland. She goes to bed at 8pm, long before her daughter, two cats, or three dogs.
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