Steps for Life: Walking for Families of Workplace Tragedy

When Donna Van Bruggen laces up her shoes to walk in Steps for Life, her reasons are both intensely personal, and universal. Donna’s son, David, was struck by a forklift at his job and killed instantly. Now, Donna participates in Steps for Life – Walking for Families of Workplace Tragedy and will act as a spokesperson for the walk this spring.

"The Steps for Life walk is an opportunity for me to honor my son David who was killed at work, and to support other families who have had their lives torn apart by workplace tragedy,” Donna says.

Steps for Life is a five-km walk to support families like Pam’s, affected by workplace tragedy. Created in 2005, Steps for Life is the flagship fundraiser for the Association for Workplace Tragedy Family Support (known as Threads of Life). This spring, 29 communities from coast to coast will play host to Steps for Life. They will be joined and supported by individuals and organizations who are committed to workplace health and safety.

The annual event raises money to provide peer support programs and services for families, and raises awareness about the importance of workplace health and safety. Last year’s Steps for Life raised more than $770,000 for this work.

Donna’s son David was working alone, refueling the forklift on his lunch hour when it lurched forward and struck him. No one will ever know exactly why or how it happened. Donna joined Threads of Life, where she regularly participates in programs such as family forums, and supports other families as a Volunteer Family Guide. Donna also regularly shares her story as a Threads of Life volunteer speaker with the aim of preventing future tragedies. She will speak at the Steps for Life walk in Lethbridge AB on May 2.

“Each step we take together as individuals and families, as community members and employers, as municipalities and legislators raises awareness that workplace health and safety is achievable and imperative for all,” Donna says. “With our efforts focused firmly on that goal, each step we take in solidarity brings us closer to the day when no other family will ever have to suffer the agony of a workplace tragedy.”

BCRSP certificants can get involved by registering to walk, or donating to another walker or team (BCRSP Teams have already been created in some cities across the country). Steps for Life includes a team challenge for any group of three or more walkers, who join together to participate and raise money for the cause. Teams are encouraged to compete within their regions and across the country. Threads of Life will recognize the top teams – those which have raised the most money to support families affected by workplace tragedy. For anyone who can’t make it to one of the 27 scheduled walks, there’s also an option to participate by setting your own agenda through “Your Walk, Your Way”.

“For those affected by workplace tragedy, it means so much to know others are walking with them,” says Threads of Life Executive Director Shirley Hickman. “We know the passion BCRSP certificants bring to their work. Steps for Life is a chance to take that passion into the community, and we deeply appreciate the time and energy you commit.”

For more information about Steps for Life walks, visit: