Marg and Scott pose in their yellow Steps for Life T-shirts. Lush greenery is seen behind them as they stand on the porch.

Marg and Scott

As I approached my retirement date on June 16th I found myself reflecting on how fortunate I have been in both my professional and personal life. As a Canadian I have been afforded a quality of life and opportunities that are the envy of many around the world. Growing up I had a loving mom, dad, brother and sister. My parents were always there to respect and support me. My wife Marg is the rock of our family – I won the lottery meeting her while at the University of Guelph. We are proud of our sons’ efforts to make themselves and this world a better place.

I have also been given the opportunity to be a difference-maker throughout my career. Before joining Threads of Life I spent 25 years working with the Industrial Accident Prevention Association (IAPA) and Workplace Safety and Prevention Services. My roles included H&S consultant, ergonomist, manager, director and VP. During this time, I witnessed the passion and commitment of my colleagues, who in many cases became my friends. 

While at IAPA I became aware of Threads of Life and Shirley Hickman. Shirley’s son Tim was killed in a workplace tragedy in 1996. Shirley was and is the driving force behind Threads of Life. Founded in 2003, Threads of Life has grown each and every year since our inception. We currently provide our peer-based support to more than 3,350 family members across Canada. When I was presented with the opportunity to become a member of the Threads of Life team I jumped at the opportunity. 

Serving as the Director of Partnerships & Fundraising has been the most rewarding role of my career. Our partners’ impact grows steadily along with the number of families we serve. Our success doesn’t happen without our 350+ volunteers giving of their time and talent. But it is through our Threads of Life families that I receive the greatest inspiration. I witness their strength, resilience and compassion on a daily basis. Our family members have experienced a life-altering workplace injury, illness or death. They have every right to be angry and bitter but I have found the opposite. They are loving and giving of their time and talents. 

All of our peer-based support programs are driven through our family members. These extraordinary individuals provide hope and healing to new Threads of Life families.  This includes providing one on one support, monthly virtual workshops, three day in-person family forums and sharing their personal stories as speakers. Through their efforts new families living in the aftermath of workplace tragedy are provided with a community of support.

I’m not sure what the next stage of my life’s journey will hold but I do know that I will always be a thankful supporter of Threads of Life’s mission:

To help families heal through a community of support and to promote the elimination of life-altering workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths.

Scott McKay