What does it take to get you up off the couch? What motivates you to take action or to get involved in something new?

We all have different reasons for the projects we tackle, the organizations we support and the ways we invest our time. This fall, volunteers across the country will be cracking open their planning books on a new season of Steps for Life – Walking for Families of Workplace Tragedy, leading up to walks from coast to coast next spring. Everyone who participates in Steps for Life has his or her own reasons. Whether you’re a volunteer, a walker, a donor or sponsor, there’s some personal motivation that drove you to get involved. We’re hoping that we can hear about some of those motivations over the next few months.

For those who’ve been personally touched by a work-related fatality, life-altering injury or occupational disease, the reason to walk is intimate and urgent. Joanne Wade is a Threads of Life family member from Ontario. Her son Brent died in 1999 after the dump truck he was driving was struck by a train at an unguarded level crossing. Joanne has been part of Steps for Life since its beginning.

“Each year I walk in Steps for Life in memory and honour of my son Brent and for those struggling with the outcome of a workplace fatality, life-altering injury or occupational disease,” Joanne says. “I walk to show my dedication and my continued commitment to our Threads of Life organization, not only for the healthy healing it provides with its many programs, but for its influence on bringing about changes that are making the workplace safer for our workers.”

Joanne has lived with her grief for Brent for nearly 20 years. Every year in Canada, close to 1,000 workers are killed on the job, or die as a result of a work-related injury or illness. That’s 1000 more Brents, 1000 more Joannes, 1000 new reasons to be part of Steps for Life. As Joanne says, the walk is a chance to honour loved ones, and it’s also an opportunity to support others affected by workplace tragedy, and to work for health and safety.

Many Steps for Life volunteers, partners and walkers don’t have a workplace tragedy within their close circle, but are moved by the desire to prevent such pain and grief for others. Amanda Foran joined Steps for Life Calgary as a volunteer last year. Amanda is a safety professional who looks for ways to “positively impact the lives of the workers I aim to protect and truly care about.”

“This volunteer experience has only just begun for me,” Amanda says, “and the stories have been incredibly impactful for me as a professional and a person but in this great big world of scary things, I feel that Threads of Life is one of those ‘lighthouses’ that helps keep people from the darkness. I hope to help Steps for Life to keep shedding light for others who need it and to continue to do the most I can to prevent anyone having to experience a loss.”

The reasons to be involved in Steps for Life are as many, and as varied, as the thousands of passionate individuals who volunteer, walk, sponsor and donate. Thank you for being part of the Steps for Life story!

Susan Haldane
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