It wasn’t the very nicest day at North Bay’s Steps for Life walk earlier this month – a bit cool, cloudy, windy down by the shore of Lake Nipissing where the walk was held. And it wasn’t the biggest crowd for a Steps for Life walk. But as family spokesperson Joanne Wade got up to speak, they were listening closely. Joanne talked about her son Brent, who died after the dump truck he was driving was hit by a train at a level crossing. As Joanne spoke about how Brent’s death has affected her for all these years, many in the crowd were nodding. Some had tears in their eyes.
Most of the folks who attend the North Bay walk don’t have a personal, first-hand experience with a workplace tragedy as Joanne does. Most are there because they work in health and safety, (or they have a friend or family member who does), or they are touched by the stories of those affected by workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. Like thousands of others across the country, they come to Steps for Life because they want to make something good happen. They come because they have big hearts.
This year, more than 4,400 people participated in 30 Steps for Life walks across Canada. As of our posting date for this blog, they had raised more than $440,000 – although we expect that total to rise further as more funds come in from the participating communities.
We know that Threads of Life family members make huge contributions to planning and fundraising for Steps for Life each year – they have a passionate understanding and commitment to help other families and to make workplaces safer.
But it’s truly inspiring every spring, to see the hundreds and hundreds of volunteers, walkers and donors who are there just because they get it too.
Thank you. Both time and money are always in short supply. But with the many other demands for your time, and the many other wonderful organizations and causes to which you could contribute, you opened your hearts to these families who have been devastated by something that went wrong at work one day.
The time you’ve invested, and the money you’ve raised will make a very real difference to people like Joanne. They’ll have a chance to learn healthy coping skills through programs like our family forums. They’ll find an empathetic listener through our volunteer family guides. And they’ll help change the future of workplace safety in this country, by telling the stories of what happened to them.
Wherever you walked, or however you helped, thank you for making Steps for Life a success again this year! Don’t miss the announcement of our Corporate Challenge and community team winners competitions on June 1. And don’t forget: if you haven’t had a chance yet, there’s still time to make a donation, until July 30.
Her background is in journalism, public relations and health and safety.
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