Grand Rapids, MI
June 17, 2022
11:30 AM - 2:00 PM
Celebration Cinema North - Wilhelm Room
2121 Celebration Dr. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Lunch Will Be Provided
The Living Undeterred Tour is a nationwide exploration aimed at bring attention to the mental health and substance use epidemics in our nation.
Keynote Speaker: Jeff Johnston
Better, Not Bitter: The Living Undeterred Mindset
On October 4, 2016, the trajectory of Jeff’s life changed with one phone call. Prior to that day, Jeff was living the American Dream. He had a great family, was a successful entrepreneur running a financial services firm in Iowa, and was seemingly coasting through life. The morning of October 4, 2016 Jeff received the phone call that is every parent’s worst nightmare. His oldest son, Seth, had died from fentanyl poisoning. He was 23 years old.
Jeff soon realized that he had two options. He could go down a road of anger and despair and become bitter, or he could use his situation as motivation to become better. And while it was not an easy journey, Jeff chose the road of better. Jeff's resiliency would again be tested in June 2021, when he lost his wife, Prudence, to alcoholism.
Jeff shares his experience through grief, addiction, and battling with his own mental health and the coping mechanisms he has developed to remain, undeterred.
Our State Partner
i understand is a nonprofit organization that offers compassionate comfort for those affected by suicide or mental/brain health illness and pain. After the loss of her husband, Rob, in 2003, Vonnie Woodrick’s life was forever changed, as she was forced to live a life without her loving partner and the father of their three children. Feeling as if no one understood suicide, the effects mental illness can have, and the judgment attached, Vonnie set out to change attitudes and the conversation. These efforts led to the formation of i understand in 2014. One of Vonnie’s first initiatives was to create a petition to change the definition of suicide – updating the stigmatizing definition about intentionally taking one’s life to one about suicide’s role as a terminal side effect of mental illness. Under Vonnie’s leadership i understand continues to advocate for open conversations, better resources for loss after suicide and a stigma free society.