Of all the dozens – maybe hundreds – of images I saw from 2018’s Steps for Life walks, these are a couple of my favourites. Our Facebook page and Instagram feed are filled with bright sunny photos. Almost all of our 27 community walks were blessed with lovely weather this year. Not Calgary though! Cold, wet, gloomy – it looked downright miserable.

But Steps for Life walkers make their own sunshine!

In Calgary, as in all our Steps for Life communities, the organizing committee did an amazing job promoting the walk ahead of time and ensuring that everything would go smoothly. Thanks to you – our  Threads of Life volunteers, participants, donors, sponsors and supporters – Steps for Life 2018 was a success in Calgary and across Canada. The last two walks wrapped up at Saturday. At that point our preliminary fundraising total stood at close to $605,000 — all funds you raised to support those affected by work-related fatalities, life-altering injuries and occupational disease. You truly paid it forward, honouring your loved ones and co-workers, and recognizing those who have helped you along the way. And your hard work will ensure more families than ever have access to the programs and services that will help them find hope and healing. Thank you!

Threads of Life turns 15 years old in 2018, and many of our Steps for Life walks have been going on for 10 years or longer. That’s more than a decade of paying it forward rain or shine; many years of making things a little bit brighter for families whose lives have been darkened by workplace tragedy.

One of those long-time walks is Corner Brook Newfoundland. Corner Brook is one of the smallest Steps for Life communities, but has raised thousands of dollars over the years, thanks to passionate volunteers like Geraldine Wheeler, who started Steps for Life in Corner Brook. Geraldine’s son Greg died while working as an ironworker in the Northwest Territories in 2001.

“Being involved with Steps for Life over the years has been very rewarding,” Geraldine says. “I’ve enjoyed the friendships I’ve made, what I’ve learned from those friends, and I’ve enjoyed giving back to Threads of Life. Threads of Life helped me when I felt beyond help and when I initially got involved in Steps for Life, I had no idea what I was doing.  I went in blindfolded and felt my way along.  It’s had its challenges and frustrations but each year, when all is said and done, it feels good to look back and say, I was part of this. I helped raise this money to help other families and I helped and continue to help raise workplace safety awareness.”

So, thank you to all who were “part of this” – the thousands of walkers, hundreds of volunteers, hundreds of donors, scores of national and local sponsors, and countless other supporters. You are part of making the sun shine.

Donations will continue to be received on the Steps for Life web site until June 30 (The deadline is June 6 for donations to be included in Team Challenge fundraising). Stay tuned to our leaderboard and Facebook page for updates and final announcements of the tally for Steps for Life 2018.

Heather Lyle