Anywhere you need me” – that’s the most frequent response when we ask Threads of Life’s new speaker trainees where they’re willing to go to share their story. Sure, our volunteer speakers have to take into account their work, family commitments, health and time. But “anywhere” pretty much captures the level of commitment and passion these volunteers bring to their role in changing health and safety workplace culture.

And they have been anywhere, and everywhere, from a hydroelectric project site in the centre of Labrador, to a brewery in the mountains of BC. They have been deep underground, and high in a helicopter to a remote work site. They have spoken to hundreds of safety professionals in hotel banquet halls, and to eight or a dozen workers on – literally – the shop floor.

The Threads of Life speakers bureau is about 60 to 70 family members across the country. New speakers spend an exhausting weekend training and practicing to tell their own story of change and loss caused by work-related fatality, injury or illness; learning how to leave audiences with a safety message they will always remember. Telling their stories means laying themselves bare in front of complete strangers, but these volunteers agree to do it again and again – that’s how important it is for them, to prevent someone else from experiencing what they’ve lived through.

Last year, Threads of Life speakers made 108 presentations, in seven provinces, with more than 11,500 people hearing their message. Requests are ramping up now for a busy fall 2018. The vast majority of presentations our speakers make won’t involve helicopters or fancy banquet halls – they’ll be made standing in front of high school classrooms, sitting at office lunchroom tables, or at conference podiums. And that’s just fine with our speakers. Because the other thing they all say, is that if they can reach “even just one person”, that helps bring them peace and the inspiration to keep going.

Thank you, Threads of Life speakers, for changing the world!

Many of us think about her story every day we come to work.

Attendee at a Threads of Life speaker presentation

Have you heard one of Threads of Life’s volunteer speakers? Tell us how it affected you.

Susan Haldane