About 100 people were registered to participate in the annual Steps for Life Walk at Bower Ponds in Red Deer Saturday. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

WATCH: Walking for workplace safety in Red Deer

Dozens stomped through the snow to honour people who lost their lives while on the job.

The annual Steps for Life Walk, which raises money and awareness for workers and families affected by workplace tragedies, was held at Bower Ponds in Red Deer on Saturday.

Donna Van Bruggen’s son David died in a workplace accident in 2012.

“He was struck by a forklift at his worksite and killed instantly … and within a second, many lives were changed forever,” she said to the crowd before the walk.

“I lost my son – my youngest child, my baby. It didn’t matter that he was all grown up and over six feet tall. I always told him, ‘You’re going to be my baby forever.’

“He’d just smile when I’d say that.”

David, who was 35 years old when he died, was married with four children.

“David’s four young children no longer have their father to give them hugs, help them with their homework or take them fishing. David won’t be there for birthdays, Christmases, graduations and weddings,” said Van Bruggen.

It wasn’t just his family who was affected by his death, she added.

“Workplace tragedies … create a ripple effect that can seem endless and affect co-workers, friends and even entire communities,” Van Bruggen said.

Chelsey Tannahill, volunteer co-ordinator for the Red Deer Steps For Life Walk, said many participating in the event have some connection to a workplace tragedy.

“Lots of the people in attendance here are in safety-sensitive industries or they’re safety professionals. For us, making sure we can get people home to their families safely is really important,” she said.

The money raised at the event goes to support Threads of Life, a registered charity that offers counselling and different forms of support to the families of people who have died or suffered a life-altering injury at the workplace.

There are many Steps for Life Walk events held throughout Canada.

Despite Saturday’s snow, Tannahill said she’s happy with how many people came out.

“It’s a pretty amazing turnout considering we don’t have warm weather this year.”


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