Steve Russell

After a session with a prosthetic technician at Sunnybrook Hospital, Lewis Wheelan sits on a hospital bed with his prosthetic legs resting against the wall. He was eager to walk again, but the legs never really fit right and were too painful to wear.
Photographer Steve Russell met triple amputee Lewis Wheelan in 2002, when Toronto Star reporter Moira Welsh wrote about what had happened to Lewis.
Nineteen-year-old Lewis had just finished his first year of economics at Wilfred Laurier University and was back home in Sault Ste. Marie working a summer job clearing brush from under hydro lines. It was Lewis’s second day on the job when a nearby tree was cut, striking a power line that landed on him, arced three times and hit him with 7200 volts.
The article focused attention on both employer Great Lakes Power’s and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board’s handling of the incident and of compensation provisions.
In a tragic twist, Lewis Wheelan passed away during the great blackout of 2003. Because of the many skin grafts, Lewis could not sweat. When the blackout hit, his air conditioning turned off; he wasn’t able to get out of his sweltering apartment.
While the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board provided some benefits, it was rules Lewis could expect $288 a week, a little more than $14,995 a year.

Born in the Nickel City, Sudbury, Ontario, Steve Russell developed a love for photography when his family moved to Lima, Peru for five years. A graduate in 1995 of the Loyalist College Photojournalism Program, Russell interned at the London Free Press and Toronto Star before the Star hired him in 1998. 
Russell has recently been named the Canadian Association of Journalists and the News Photographer's Association of Canada's Photojournalist of the year for his work in 2011. He has won The National Newspaper Award for Sports Photography in 2006, as well as the National Newspaper Award in Spot News Photography in 2009.
He has also won the Canadian Association of Journalists' Photojournalist of the year in 2008 and 2011.