Speakers Profiles: Western Canada

Since 2005, Threads of Life has raised awareness of the importance of injury prevention to more than 68,000 people.

Below are some of our speakers who currently reside in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Northwestern Ontario. Each chooses to share their personal story and to talk about the aftermath and reality of workplace tragedy – long after the headlines are gone. Not all speakers are listed. Please call to discuss your event and the best match available.

We will match your event with the right speaker. To book a speaker for your event please:


Below are just a few of our more than our 50 speakers …

Lynn Cadrain – Mom (AB)

Lynn’s son, Dustin (21), was killed while working in the oil patch in Alberta. Dustin was attaching a pipe when an improperly suspended side boom suddenly failed, pinning Dustin between the boom and the pipe.

Katie_IMG_4920[1]Katie Giesbrecht – Mom (AB)

Katie’s son Bryan (30) was a train conductor. On a snowy afternoon, he and the train engineer were asked to do a routine switch of a diesel tank for the camp generator at a small station on the side of the rail line. Bryan’s job was to set the switch for the derailer so the engineer could bring the car in. Neither he nor the engineer were aware that there was a second derailer that needed to be de-activated. The fuel car that Bryan was riding on derailed and rolled. Bryan was crushed and died instantly.

Tami Helgeson – Mom (Northwestern ON-MB border)

Tami’s son, Eric, had just celebrated his 20th birthday when he was killed on a Winnipeg construction site. While working in the building, a crane tipped; collapsing the building Eric was working in.

ShirleyHickman2Shirley Hickman – Mom, Executive Director, Threads of Life (BC)

In 1996, Shirley’s and her family’s lives were forever changed with the tragic death of her son Tim. Working in a London, ON arena, an explosion occurred and Tim died as a result of his injuries. Since that time, Shirley has focused on making a difference in workplace health and safety. In 2002, Shirley founded Association for Workplace Tragedy Family Support – Threads of Life. It has been Shirley’s vision to help families affected by a workplace tragedy along their journey of healing by providing them with peer support assistance and referral while promoting public awareness and accountability for workplace health and safety. [Shirley’s bio]

Tammy_IMG_4931[1]Tammy Lundgren-Costa – Living with a life-altering injury (MB)

Tammy was a counsellor at a residential treatment centre and was admitting a resident. The entryway and stairwells had sound proof walls and doors as there was a mental health facility on the second floor. Cameras were absent to protect the residents’ identities, especially those running from gang affiliation. While walking ahead of the resident, Tammy was attacked and raped in the stairwell. Tammy now shares her story in an effort to break the silence and stigma of workplace violence.

Charles Malysh – Dad (AB)

Charles Malysh and his son Josh (21) were best friends. They even worked in the same industry – construction. Josh died after being pinned between a large concrete manhole barrel and an embankment on a construction site.

Wendy-Ellen Nittel headshotWendy-Ellen Nittel – Mom (AB)

Wendy-Ellen’s younger son Blaine was expected to come home one day and take over the family farm. But in the meantime Blaine (23) was working for an oil contracting company when the service rig he was driving overturned and Blaine was killed. His death changed their family’s lives forever.

Jack Payne headshotJack Payne – Dad (BC)

Wesley Payne had always wanted to be a pilot and had just been promoted to captain. He was killed along with his co-pilot when a faulty gasket caused a fire in the engine of their cargo plane. In addition to the death of his son, Jack has been affected by the on-duty deaths of colleagues in the RCMP.

Rachel Rauhut – Niece (AB)

Rachel was a young teenager when her aunt Marlene was killed on a highway while working as a highway maintenance worker. Rachel is a testament to the ripple effects of a workplace tragedy, which extend well beyond the immediate family.

Ron Rauhut – Brother (AB)

Ron lost his much beloved sister, Marlene (40), who was killed on a highway while working as a highway maintenance worker.

Dennice_4918[1]Dennice Schafer – Mom (SK)

Dennice’s son Brian (21) was a dedicated road construction worker for a paving company. Part of his job was to keep the conveyor belt to the paver free of any blockage from the hopper where the sand and gravel were stored. Brian was discovered buried inside the hopper. A load of sand had been dumped in while he was clearing a plug up and Brian was crushed to death.

Lisa Lisa Shirley headshotShirley – Living with a life-altering injury (SK)

Lisa is living with the effects of a life-altering injury. When she first hurt her wrist it was diagnosed as simple tendinitis – but it developed into Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, which has affected every part of her body and every aspect of her life – her work, her family, her identity.

…and others from across Canada

Many of our speakers are able to travel to other regions for an event. Contact us at speakersbureau@threadsoflife.ca and we will match your event with the right speaker. Speaker profiles are also available for our volunteers in Central Canada and Atlantic Canada & Quebec.


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