Has a stranger ever seen you struggling with a heavy pack or grocery bag and offered to help? Being able to share that weight probably made both of you feel better. That’s the philosophy behind Threads of Life’s annual Steps for Life events: when we all walk together and share the load, we’re able to lift and support one another. And that applies whether it’s committee members thinking up new ways to promote their local event, or family members reaching out with a word of support – the list goes on.
Leslie Dawn Marie Miller would have been a big fan of that philosophy. She loved travel and adventure, and was a caring daughter, sister, cousin, granddaughter, aunt and friend. Leslie’s sister Jeniffer describes Leslie as a “light in the dark”.
Leslie was killed on her worksite in December 2020 when the pickup truck she was travelling in was crushed by a bulldozer. Life will never be the same for Jeniffer and the rest of Leslie’s family. “We never got to say goodbye,” Jeniffer says. “We will never hold her again, we will never celebrate another birthday, our hearts will always have a missing piece.”
Jeniffer found Threads of Life, and one of the first things she participated in was her local Steps for Life-Walking for Families of Workplace Tragedy event in 2022. The following year she made sure there was a Memory Lane sign so others would learn Leslie’s story. And this fall she will attend training to become a member of Threads of Life’s volunteer speakers’ bureau.
“Seeing pictures or signs of loved ones, hearing & reading stories is more impactful than just hearing about it in the news,” Jeniffer says. “You see and feel the emotions. Too many times I thought to myself, ‘nah, won’t happen to me or my family’ or ‘I’ll just get it done real quick’. I feel this is used far too often by far too many. Threads of Life is a large supportive community that is raising awareness of the reality of how many lives are lost or changed, but it’s a safe place with safe people who welcome you in open arms and let you know, I am not alone.”
Steps for Life is important because “by raising awareness, it brings to the surface the reality of how many lives are lost and or changed and how the tragedies happened and could have been prevented.” The funds raised through Steps for Life events also support programs and services for families like Jeniffer’s, and help to cover the costs to train new speaker volunteers and Volunteer Family Guides.
“Threads of Life has been a major part of my healing,” Jeniffer says. “From support at walks, emails, words of support and encouragement in person and online, it’s helping me to be strong enough to be able to share my story to prevent others from getting the knock on the door the way my family did. I am grateful to have Threads of Life as part of my healing journey.”
When you walk in Steps for Life, you walk for Jeniffer and Leslie, and thousands of others like them across the country. When we walk together, we share the weight, and we share the hope as well.
This fall, volunteer committees in communities from coast to coast are starting to plan for next spring’s Steps for Life events. To get involved as a volunteer, visit our website. Registration for Steps for Life will open in February.