Collage of Walkers and volunteers at Steps for Life 2017

All year we’ve been saying that ‘one’ can make a difference: one volunteer, one walker, one fundraiser, one sponsor. Of course everyone knows that when we put a whole bunch of ‘ones’ together, that impact grows by huge steps. You could call those “Steps for Life”!

Over the past two weekends, Steps for Life – Walking for Families of Workplace Tragedy events were held in communities stretching from Vancouver to St. John’s and all points in between. The planning committees do their best to control every variable, but there’s one they can’t manage. Walkers this year faced everything from ice pellets to pouring rain to high winds, and handled it all with smiles on their faces!

With all but a couple of this year’s Steps for Life walks completed, it’s already clear that the efforts of so many ‘ones’ have achieved great things. We know awareness about the importance of health and safety has increased – we’ve seen the news reports about Steps for Life in newspapers and on TV and radio across Canada. And already new families are reaching out to Threads of Life as a result of the attention that Steps for Life brings. While nobody wants the Threads of Life club to get any bigger, we know there are people who need our programs and services – and because of the hard work of volunteers, spokespeople, partners and others, they’re able to find that support.

We won’t know the final tallies from the fundraising efforts for several weeks. But counting online donations and sponsorships alone, Steps for Life is already well over two-thirds of the way to its goal for 2017.

The funds you’ve raised this year – you and all the other ‘ones’ – will make a difference. They will allow more families to attend family forums. They will provide for more training for volunteer family guides, so that they can offer peer support to those who’ve experienced a workplace tragedy. They will fund new community-based peer support groups. They will help deliver the newsletter Threads and other information to families and partners. And they will allow more family members to share their stories so that together we can change the safety culture in our country.

Feel proud, knowing that you have been part of the difference – the difference made by one and by many together, and felt across the nation!

But it’s not done yet! On May 13 Steps for Life Mississauga/Peel Region goes to J.C. Saddington Park. For the walk which had to be cancelled due to flooding – Wellington South/Waterloo Region – the committee will determine this week whether there will be an alternate date or whether walkers will be encouraged to join in the Mississauga walk. And for all walks, donations can still be made online until July 31. Stay tuned as we update results on the Steps for Life web site.

Susan Haldane