a laptop screen reads ​Elisa Kilbourne, a Threads of Life member from London Ontario, tells a lovely story about her first trip to a Family Forum.

“The moment I arrived in the parking lot I sat and cried,” she says, “trying to figure out if I could really handle this emotional situation, let alone in the presence of strangers. Then, I heard a knock on my window and a woman was standing there who was also attending the Forum. She asked me if she could sit with me and then we went in to register together.”

I don’t know who that family member was, but this moving story doesn’t surprise me one bit – Threads of Life members are always there for each other. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken many things away from us, but it has not taken that – we can still be there to listen and support each other, even when we have to be apart physically.

That’s why I’m excited about our new project this fall – our first national, online Family Forum. As the limitations of the pandemic continued through the spring and summer, we decided that in-person Family Forums just didn’t make sense. We couldn’t risk having people travel and meet together in person, even with precautions in place. Instead, we’re doing our very best to move the Forums online and still offer the things that our Family Forums always do – chances to learn new coping skills, share experiences, honour our lives as injured or ill workers and our loved ones, and be there for each other.

We’ll make it easy for anybody to join in – you don’t have to be a computer whiz; you just need to have a computer or phone and internet access.You can read more in these pages about how the Forum will work, or go check out the web site at www.threadsoflife.ca/forum2020.

I wasn’t at the very first Family Forum Threads of Life held in 2005, but I have heard some of the stories. It was a national event, and as the events grew larger and became regional, I know some of the families who met at that national event kept in touch even though they lived thousands of kilometres apart. Maybe the National Virtual Family Forum is a chance for them to see each other – via Zoom – once again. Even more exciting, the virtual Forum is an opportunity for people to participate who could never attend an in-person Forum because of personal or work commitments. It doesn’t matter which corner of Canada you live in; everyone will have a chance to take part in the learning and support.

So, please have a look at the schedule and go register. We might not be together in person, but we can still go in to the Forum together.

Karen Lapierre Pitts
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