Many Canadians will gather with friends and family this weekend to celebrate Easter or the beginning of Passover. After more than two years of cancelled family get-togethers, this is a welcomed chance to finally spend time some quality time with the people we care about.
But special occasions like Easter, Passover, or Eid can be hard for Canadians who have lost someone they love to a rail tragedy. It’s a painful reminder that a beloved family member or friend is gone—a fact Shannon McGlynn is all too familiar with.
In October 2010, Shannon’s 22-year-old son Chris was killed when he took a shortcut across the tracks on his way home from a night out with friends. It was a tragic decision that his family struggles with every day—and even more acutely at special occasions.
“I really miss him when there is a family holiday. There’s always that empty chair at the table, and always that empty spot in my heart,” she says. “There is not a day that goes by that we don’t miss him and wish that he was here.”
Shannon shared her family’s tragic story as part of Operation Lifesaver’s #STOPTrackTragedies
campaign. In the video
, she talks about the pain Chris’ death has caused her family.
Some mistakes can never be fixed
Unfortunately, the McGlynn’s story isn’t an isolated one. Over the last 10 years, close to 1,200 Canadians have been killed or seriously injured because they engaged in unsafe behaviour around railway tracks and trains. Many of those incidents involved young people who made the mistake of trespassing on train tracks—young people like Kevin Kenyon.
In May 2015, the 25-year-old was hit and killed by a train as he took a shortcut to work. He couldn’t hear the train approaching because he was wearing headphones. His younger sister Kiki talked about her brother’s death in another #STOPTrackTragedies video
—and how that tragic day has tainted every family celebration since.
“Holidays are a lot different. They don’t feel real anymore,” she says. “His birthday is just a couple of days away from my sister's, so whenever that comes around, it’s always just a reminder that he’s gone.”
Don’t wait for a tragedy to change your family forever. Have a conversation about rail safety with the people closest to you. It only takes a few minutes, but it could save you a lifetime of heartache.
You can find all the resources
you need to get the conversation started on our website.