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The Forum to feature mental health advocate Jamie Tworkowski

RELEASED: Sept. 28, 2011

Jamie Tworkowski

EAU CLAIRE — The founder of To Write Love on Her Arms — a global movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for those who suffer from depression, addiction, self-injury and suicidal tendencies — will speak Oct. 19 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Jamie Tworkowski will be presented by The Forum at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Fire Room of Davies Center. Sharing the stage with musician Noah Gundersen, he will lead a conversation about issues that millions live with but few talk about.

"To Write Love on Her Arms" is the title of a story Tworkowski wrote in 2006. It was the true story of five days he spent with a friend, Renee, who was denied entry into a drug treatment center in Orlando, Fla. As a way to pay for her treatment, Tworkowski posted a blog on Myspace and began selling T-shirts.

Tworkowski created the Florida-based nonprofit organization and made it his life's work after he learned the sobering statistics that two of three people with depression do not get help, and that the third leading cause of death among those aged 18-24 is suicide. Sparked by the support of bands including Switchfoot, Anberlin and Paramore, TWLOHA T-shirts quickly became a phenomenon within the music world and the group's message spread from venue to venue all over the world. The organization now has the largest online audience of any nonprofit on Myspace and Facebook, where it is "liked" by more than 1.2 million people.

TWLOHA encourages, informs and invests directly into treatment and recovery organizations, having donated more than $850,000 to date. The organization has seen thousands taking first steps toward getting help, and others learning to help their friends or have honest conversations for the first time.

"This is a project for broken people, and it is led by broken people," Tworkowski says. He shares his vision of hope with a simple message: "You are not alone and this is not the end of your story."

For his work, Tworkowski has been interviewed by the NBC Nightly News, CBS Sunday Morning, CNN, MTV, Rolling Stone and SPIN Magazine. He speaks frequently, bringing a message of hope and community to audiences at colleges and concerts throughout the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom.

"Renee," a film based on the life story of the young woman who inspired TWLOHA, is set for release next year.

A typical Forum program includes a 60-minute lecture, a 30-minute question-and-answer session and an open reception. The program will be signed for the deaf and hard of hearing. Assistive listening devices and large print programs are also available upon request.

Tickets are $8 for the public; $6 for those 62 and older and UW System or Chippewa Valley Technical College faculty and staff; and $4 for those 17 and younger and UW System or CVTC students. Student tickets are half price, $2, until the day of the event. On the day of the event, students must pay the full student ticket price.

Tickets are available at the Service Center counter in the east lobby of Davies Center and also will be sold at the door.

Patrons also may charge their tickets to Discover, MasterCard or Visa when they order by phone. Call 715-836-3727 or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free 800-949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.

Wisconsin Public Radio, Community Television and WHYS Radio have contributed generous promotional support for The Forum. The Forum also is funded in part by Visit Eau Claire ... The Unexpected Wisconsin.

Funded by the students of UW-Eau Claire, The Forum is administered by the Activities, Involvement and Leadership office of the University Centers.



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