Thread of Life Founder Shares Story of Loss

April 9, 2013, 4:20 PM EST

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It was through her own experience of the loss of her son that Shirley Hickman came to found Threads of Life, an organization that helps other families who lose a loved one to a workplace fatality or occupational illness.

Hickman addressed CAW Council on April 6, 17 years to the day that she and her family buried her eldest son Tim.  In 1997, Hickman and family lost Tim to a terrible injury he suffered from a workplace explosion at a London, Ontario area on March 23.

"As a mother, I had expectations for my kids to grow up, be respectful, get an education and be a good citizen," said Hickman.

Hickman explained that the first few months were filled with grief and shock. Later though those sentiments gave way to anger and frustration at the lack of concern for workers safety by employers and how easily Tim's accident could have been avoided. It was this deep fury that led Hickman to make a commitment to do something to honour her son and help others. Threads of Life was founded in 2002.

Threads of Life helps families affected by a workplace fatality, life-altering injury or occupational disease. It provides families with referrals and the only one-on-one peer support assistance program in the world that is delivered by trained Volunteer Family Guides who have also experienced a workplace tragedy. It is currently working with more than 1,100 families from across Canada who have been affected by a workplace tragedy.

Hickman encouraged CAW delegates to take part in upcoming Steps for Life taking place on May 5 in communities right across the country.  Click here for more information: 

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