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"For the Love of Laurie" by Michele Wojciechowski

Family Circle, April 19, 2005

I had been intrigued with Lisa Hurka Covington ever since we met. We were introduced years ago at a local writers' group meeting. At the time, she was planning to write a book about her younger sister, Laurie, who committed suicide in 1991. What I've always found amazing about Lisa is her complete dedication to suicide prevention. Founding SPEAK (Suicide Prevention Education Awareness for Kids) was her dream, and the organization has affected so many lives. That's what drew me to write an article about Lisa and SPEAK. Lisa is so enthusiastic and passionate, and it's infectious. All the volunteers involved have made such a difference-from talking to students and their parents about suicide prevention to getting phones installed in two of Maryland's bridges so that potential jumpers could speak directly to law enforcement. Suicide isn't the most pleasant topic. But I was thrilled when Nancy Clark, former deputy editor at Family Circle, loved the idea. I knew that it would affect people; I just didn't know how much. After the article appeared, Lisa received tons of e-mail from all over the country. People of all ages who had been affected by suicide wanted to know how they could help. The most moving response was from a teen who read "When Nothing Else Matters: A Survival Guide for Depressed Teens," by Bev Cobain, R.N., which was mentioned in the article (Cobain is the cousin of Kurt Cobain, frontman for the rock group Nirvana, who committed suicide in 1994). The teen said that she had tried suicide before, but after reading the article and Cobain's book, she realized that people understood her, and she would never try it again. Andrea King Collier once told me that "Words can change lives." And they really can.


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Media Coverage
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Press release from Governer O'Malley
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Delegate Susan Aumann: House Bill 973
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City school system sued over boy's attempted hanging
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Opening up to break the cycle: Gazette.Net
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