Winnipeggers mark National Day of Mourning with 5K walk

More than 160 people gathered at Winnipeg’s Kildonan Park Sunday to recognize victims of workplace tragedy and occupational illnesses on the National Day of Mourning.

Community members took part in the Steps for Life five-kilometre walk, wearing orange t-shirts and holding signs in support of victims and their families.

Walk participants included Joseph Paulich, a Steps for Life spokesperson who sustained a workplace injury in 2002.

“Your life could change in the blink of an eye,” he said, recalling his own experience. “The things we take for granted – bending over, picking stuff up – all changes and life becomes very hard.”

Paulich said support from family and friends helped get him back on his feet and back to work.

“I didn’t want to give up. I went back to work…I got into the safety part and that’s where most of my training is,” he said.

Paulich said he’s been walking in the Steps for Life event for the past eight years and often volunteers with the group.

The event has been running for around 20 years and helps raise money for Threads of Life – an organization that supports people suffering from workplace injuries or illnesses. Organizers said this year, they managed to surpass their fundraising goal and collected more than $30,000 for the cause.

“We’re blessed to have so many people come out to actually celebrate the walk, but to also be able to have that moment of silence with the group on this day,” said Dana Johnson, the chair of the Steps for Life walking committee in Manitoba.

“That really gives you a somber moment to recognize those that have actually lost their lives to workplace tragedy,” she added.

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