smiling man hugging a woman

“You don’t pay love back; you pay it forward.”

– Lily Hardy Hammond, In the Garden of Delight, 1916

Isn’t it true, sometimes, that the people who’ve faced the most hardship and tragedy in their lives show the most kindness and generosity? Knowing what we’ve lost sharpens our appreciation for what we have.

In the book and movie “Pay it Forward” (2000) a young boy comes up with a plan to encourage people to respond to kindness or good fortune by doing a good deed for three more people. In the movie, this creates a network of love and hope. But the concept of paying it forward goes back much further than the turn of this century (maybe it’s as old as humanity!)

In a 1950 novel, Ray Bradbury wrote “How do I thank Mr. Jonas, he wondered, for what he’s done? How do I thank him, how pay him back? No way, no way at all. You just can’t pay. What then? What? Pass it on somehow, he thought, pass it on to someone else. Keep the chain moving. Look around, find someone, and pass it on. That was the only way…. “

Passing it on to someone else is the whole philosophy behind Steps for Life – Walking for Families of Workplace Tragedy. Threads of Life families, affected by a work-related fatality, serious injury or disease have been through some of the toughest time imaginable, but they find a way to be positive and look for someone they can help. And those of us with the good fortune not to be touched by workplace tragedy can pay it forward too.

Steps for Life is the premier fundraiser for Threads of Life. It will happen in 30 communities across the country next spring, and in companies and other organizations too. Money raised through the five-kilometer walk goes directly to support Threads of Life programs that help people affected by workplace tragedies, and to help prevent future tragedies.

Participating as a walker in Steps for Life, raising funds for those affected by workplace tragedies, volunteering to help organize Steps for Life events or sponsoring a local walk are all great ways to recognize and respond to kindness and good fortune.

  • Do you work for a great company that values safety? Pay it forward by raising funds to help keep future workers safe.
  • Did Threads of Life programs help you? Pay it forward by participating so those same programs can help another family.
  • Was someone there for you when you had a close call at work? Pay it forward.
  • Do you have a loving family around you? Pay that forward too!

Planning for next spring’s walks is starting now. Mark your calendar, or even better, get involved! Visit our website to find out how. Keep the chain moving! It’s the only way.

Susan Haldane