a group of 4 Steps for Life walkers smile as they hold a giant heart-shaped frame up around their faces. The line of the heart is framed with yellow Steps for Life bootprint images.

Walkers in Barrie share their supportive hearts with all who gather to walk in Steps for Life

Steps for Life is always a mix of sombre and celebration. We celebrate spring and simply being together – a community of people sharing compassion and commitment. But there are sombre aspects to the day as well – we know why we’re here and we have reminders in the Memory Lane signs and the family stories sharing terrible tragedy.

There was a story shared after one of our Steps for Life-Walking for Families of Workplace Tragedy events this year. The community had experienced a very recent tragedy – a death at a workplace. The family and co-workers learned about Steps for Life and came out to honour the worker who had been killed. Thanks to the kindness and understanding they experienced from the Steps for Life volunteers and other participants, the family plan to contact Threads of Life for support, and to walk in Steps for Life next year. They found a safe place; they discovered they’re not alone. That’s just one example, but I know that compassion was repeated at Steps for Life walks across the country this spring – and that’s really what it’s all about. Somehow, all of you who walk and participate in Steps for Life, manage to blend the sombre with the celebratory. You make everyone feel welcomed and supported. You raise awareness and you create community. It’s amazing to see!

Across Canada, many individual Steps for Life events exceeded their goals for fundraising and participant numbers in 2024, and the walk as a whole is well over our target. This means that more people like that new family, will find Threads of Life and tap into healing programs and services. And all those bright yellow t-shirts mean that more people across the country see how important health and safety is to us – it would be hard to miss!

Sometimes, when we contribute our time to a cause, we wonder if it’s really making a dent in that situation. Well, I’m here to tell you: Yes, you are making a difference. The money you raised, the awareness you created and the compassion you demonstrated all contribute to helping families who’ve experienced tragedy, and to preventing such tragedies in the future.

On behalf of those new families who found us this year through Steps for Life, and the thousands of family members already benefiting from Threads of Life programs and services, I am so grateful. Thank you a thousand times.

Susan Haldane