It’s heeee-re

No more sleeps.

Today is our day.
We’re  off to great places!
We’re off and away!

Have fun in your PJ’s today and when you’ve had all your funnin’ and you haven’t forgotten to do all your picture snappin’ and videoin’,
put them all in
Username: findthecommonthread
Password: findthecommonthread

Please only drop stuff into there, I’ll remove things so that we don’t accidentally erase someone else’s pictures. The funny thing is that it will probably be me that messes things up due to chemo brain, lack of sleep, or some other awesome excuse I can come up with.

Have a blast today friends, and let this be our day where WE can do something significant to change things for the better.


Four more sleeps

Zoweee. I can’t speak for what’s happening outside of Jasper, but I am hearing a few things (we’ll find out after the 29th – send images and video links to ) but I can certainly speak for what’s happening in Jasper. I must start off by saying that I live in the coolest, most supportive and generous community I can imagine, it’s not just neighbours, it’s friends …. and I’m surrounded by the most amazing, loving and supportive family in the world. I’m so grateful to be amongst such individuals. So here’s what’s happening in Jasper:


PJ Ski

11am –  Race at Marmot Basin. FREE.

This is a fun course set on Lower Drom that will be open to all abilities. You don’t have to be a racer to enjoy it. Brian will set the course and anyone interested in volunteering to help with set up can contact me at or go to Facebook and post me a message in the FIND THE COMMON THREAD group. There will be a post race wrap up at The Whistle Stop Pub where the staff will also be in PJ’s and there will be special drinks where the proceeds will go towards setting up a Non Profit Organization. Take pictures and send them after the event. We’ll have a photographer around, but the more the merrier. Show us how your day in PJ’s was. Send them to: (kinda like navigating your way through the medical system and feeling a little exposed in your PJ’s all the time)

PJ Run

Noon  Meet at Totem Pole. FREE.

If you don’t feel like racing on your skis, you can go for a lunchtime run with Tracy Garneau. Don’t let the name scare you though because this will be an easy run around town and on the town trail. Wear your PJ’s and pose for a shot or two for our photo gallery. (kinda like after you get diagnosed and having to go through some stuff that feels uncomfortable and you push yourself further than you thought you could go…)

PJ Yoga

1:30pm –  with Stephanie Sophocleous. Yoga Studio – Second floor Old Firehall.      FREE.

After all of that running and racing and sliding and having fun, it’s time to stretch it out. You don’t have to change clothes, stay in your PJ’s and go for a session of inner peace and muscle strengthening. (kinda like when you’re on the mend and have spent so much energy on just trying to survive that suddenly you realize that it’s time to heal and strengthen that which has been assaulted)

PJ DF CX SKI – PJ Dog Friendly Cross Country Ski

1:30pm – Wabasso Campground Meet – Su Young Lesley – FREE

If you’re still looking for something outdoors to do in your PJ’s here’s an opportunity. The track will be set between now and then so it’ll be a fun PJ glidefest. Don’t forget to take some photos.

PJ Noodle Night

5:00 – 7:00       627 Patricia Street.      FREE.

Join us for a free dinner and wear your pajamas to support the one in five people affected by autoimmune disease. Brought to you by the Community Outreach Services. Fill your tummies and then head over to the Fashion/Dance show at the Activity Centre. (anyone on prednisone knows that this one is near and dear to the heart – as much of it as possible)

PJ Dance and Fashion Show

7:15 Doors 7:30 Start .      FREE

Come and check out the Jasper High School Dance 15 class, the grade 9 Jasper Dance Program, and some brave models put on a PJ show for you. There will be some T-shirts for sale for no more than $10 each – and they are all different. Come out and support your friends and neighbours and raise a hand for the one in five. The actual show won’t be longer than 40 minutes, but it should be great. (our coming out of the shadows party)

PJ Party – Whistle Stop Pub

From the end of the ski day onwards. The Whistle StopDrink specials and great footage.

Come hang out and have some drinks in your PJ’s. This is where the skiers from today’s event will come by to see themselves on the big screen as they navigate the gates in their Pajamas.

PJ Party – The D’ed Dog

Throughout the day. Wear your PJ’s and get Happy Hour Prices.

A good place to hang out and watch the goings on all around with everyone in their most comfy clothes – their PJ’s.

PJ Dance Party

Anytime after the Fashion Show – THC (The Horseshoe Club)  FREE

Come and dance the night away to finish off a great day and go to bed wasted from the day’s activities. If you did everything there was to do today, at this point of the evening (after THC) you should be feeling like many people with autoimmune disease feel when they wake up in the morning.

Businesses who will be wearing their PJ’s on February 29th (in no particular order, and if I’ve missed you please drop me a line or comment at the end of this post)
  • Seton General Hospital
  • Jasper Inn Best Western
  • Marmot Basin Ski Area
  • TD Bank
  • Whistler’s Hotel
  • Wild Mountain North Face Store
  • Freewheel Cycle
  • Parks Canada non front line staff
  • Friends of Jasper National Park
  • Summit Massage
  • Wild Orchid
  • La Fiesta
  • Super A Food Store
  • EK Bye Professional Group
  • Robinson’s Food Store
  • Jasper Senior’s Lodge (they will also have a PJ BBQ for lunch)

the biggest giant hug to you all for the unreal support. Here’s to a fantastic February 29th.

Some of the media so far:

Edmonton Journal – (the picture in this article was taken a couple of weeks before diagnosis, you can see that I’m in a ton of pain and not very happy about life at this point)

Edmonton Global –

Jasper Fitzhugh Paper –

The Eagle Radio – and I’ll go on air on February 29th to let a few more know – just in case they’re standing in front of their wardrobe wondering what to wear, I can help them with the decision and save the day.

One Week Notice

Yikes, time is travelling at warp speed these days. Being at a funky stage in my pred wean doesn’t help things much. Energy is a hot commodity, but our coming out day is drawing nearer and nearer.

I have to say that I’m so completely and totally stoked about how things are unfolding in our little town. I can’t speak for other places – as I’m not there – but man oh man is it ever a cool thing happening in our town of 4500 (but don’t let that fool you because it’s a tourist town and there’s always way more than 4,500 people around).

I just went on the boob tube to talk about this, and just to make sure that you all know, I’m not making up the stats for this, I’m getting them from AARDA – the American version of what I’d love to see in Canada, and will do all in my power for that to happen. AARDA stands for American Autoimmune Related Disease Association and it was upon stumbling on their site that I had this epiphany to get this going. I know they’re doing a ton to do the same thing, but I thought I’d approach it from a different angle. Anyways all of the stats and data that I quote on here if from their numerous studies, and there is a ton of reference material on the links page. I would be horrified at the thought that I might be putting false information out there and I assure you that it comes from reliable sources (although not Canadian due to our lack of anything of the sort). If you want to find out more, go to

Another thing that I noticed is how noticeably absent we are from this site for our biggest federal funding provider . So think about this when Pajama Day is over and you’re wondering what you can do to keep the ball rolling. There are a couple of things… One, do a little research into your geneology and see if there is autoimmunity in your family (just because there isn’t doesn’t mean your free and clear either, so it’s good to play safe) and if there is, you can take some simple precautions to avoid being exposed to environmental triggers. I don’t thin I would have had the H1N1 shot had I been aware of the genetic connections and H1N1’s stated possibility of contracting Vasculitis, and AI disease which I now have. Another thing you can do is to remind your government representative that Autoimmunity is a debilitating disease and there is very little federal money going towards research. They need to hear from us more.

Our event is only one week away, and I have some PJ’s for those that don’t and would like something cheap to put on over their ski pants and running gear.

Thanks you all for being part of this and we will change things for the better. I know it with all my knowing.

One step closer to reality

I went and spoke with a most amazing group of teenagers this week at the Jasper Junior/Senior High School. It was a little nerve wracking but also inspiring to think that these are the people who will change the world… and hopefully I said something at some point that might have inspired even one student to use their powerful, world changing voice to stand up for this cause. I know there is a lot of social consciousness, imagination and tech saavy in that school, so I sit here and hope with all hope that something jaw dropping will come from that direction.

I have made some posters and the logos are now available on here if you would like to do something in your corner of the world and need some supporting material. You can click on the Media tab above and have at’er ( ).

I really hope that if you are doing something or a part of a PJ event, you’ll take pictures and /or video and send them this way so that we can show the world what we’ve been up to and what they missed – but can always get on board next year. You can send images and links to videos to .

I look forward to our day in the sun. I will be going on air this Saturday in Edmonton to toot the horn, so we may hopefully get some joiners from that direction.

All the best my friends, and keep it going.

So Blue – Working towards equity

I was thinking about this yesterday as seems to be the norm these days, and figured we’re so far behind in research that maybe it will take a very minimal change in status quo to get things going in the right direction… here’s a few circle graphs to illustrate my point (I grasp concepts better from a visual perspective than when reading a bunch of numbers stuffed inside a paragraph)

So if you look at the circle graphs on the left, you will see how many of us are affected (we’re blue, Cancer is red, and Heart Disease is green) on the first graph relative to the other two. The second graph shows the cost from each disease group n the medical system. Again, we’re up there (half of Heart Disease but far more than Cancer) and in the last graph you’ll see how much money goes towards research. I’m thinking that we’re not getting the proportional piece of pie.  If you want to do something, send a note to your Health Minister and ask him what they’re doing about Autoimmune Diseases and Disorders. I’ve learned that I need to push and be my own best advocate these last two years and it seems like we have to do the same thing here.  These stats are from and are from 2003, but they’re the best info I have found so far. That in itself is a tell tale sign.

So back to the start of the post. What I was thinking as I was out there using up all of my spoons in one go, was what if the answer is a very simple one that would just require the right minds/specialists to get together and pool their research and wouldn’t cost much at all. What if that’s all it takes. The right push at the right time with the right people. If we added a little more to the blue piece of pie on the bottom pie and that magic moment happened, we could eliminate the entire blue pieces of pie in the upper two pies and open them up for red, green and all the other colours in the rainbow.

So there’s something else that you can advocate for. Cross specialty research. It’s kinda like cross training for academics. By raising awareness maybe we can push towards this as a group. Use your connections, your creative genius, your voice. It took me getting sick and fighting for my life to get my voice. Use yours now! You have the power to change the world, don’t wait for something horrible to happen before  you realize the power you have within.

We want you for the revolution

This image is for you Janet

I am just writing this to make sure we are all clear.

I am not one of those proprietary types who wants to keep control of everything. I’m not in this for the glory. I’m in it to do all that I can to move us closer to finding a cure for autoimmunity. Oooops, I used the word ‘cure’ that is trademarked by the Susan G. Komen foundation  – millions of donated dollars for cancer research might come my way in lawyer costs to sue me. But I digress.  The reason I want to push as many people out there who are suffering from an autoimmune disease and either don’t see much happening in terms of research in their diseases or else they see the possibly and power we can have by joining forces and pushing for autoimmune disease awareness and research, that reason is that I want a cure / common thread found before my daughter grows up and potentially has to deal with an autoimmune disease herself. Genetic predisposition and environmental trigger. That’s the lowest common denominator we have so far, and it doesn’t bode well for our kids. Let’s dig deeper.

What I really want to say with this post is that I don’t care about branding or about using the term find the common thread. If you are interested in helping, have some great ideas, have some friends with just the right skill set – do it, get on board, do something creative and funky in your community. If you have access to media – go for it. If you wanna do a calendar – go for it. If you want to get on a soapbox and preach in Hyde Park, go for it. I am personally blown away at the positive response in my little community. We have a bunch of stuff on the go, and I’d love to be able to help all around the world, but I have a limited number of spoons, if you know what I mean. I have a family, a job, a home to take care of and a not so healthy body. I’m doing a lot of this from my computer and you can too. Have fun brainstorming, go for coffee with some friends and just throw a bunch of ideas up in the air – and see what sticks. This is our little revolution. This is a super cool opportunity where a bunch of sick people can propel something to make a positive global change. I am still sick. I keep hoping to get back to my old normal, but I think it’ll be a tougher road than I originally thought, but my new normal is way cooler on the inside. I like the new me that has emerged because of this disease. It has toughened me up inside and I think that we can all probably say the same thing. So a bunch of weak on the physical side, but tougher than nails on the inside people can push and push and push until the world hears us and starts paying attention to this group of diseases that has thus far gone pretty much unrecognized.

YOU be the instrument of change. The power within you is greater than you can imagine.

Strange Sounds

I’m hearing them too, but I know what they are in my case. The rumbling and vibrations of a whole lot of people getting behind a cause. I can’t speak for what’s happening in other places as I give up the idea completely to others of like minds that  agree with this project to do things in their own back yards. I know some who are, but I can’t speak to the details of their events, but I can certainly speak for what’s happening here. We are ever closer to our PJ Fashion Show. We will have dancers and models, it’ll be about a 45 minute show. I’m so excited to see it rolling like a giant snowball coming down the mountain and getting bigger and less stopable with each revolution. We will also have a PJ run on the 29th and it’ll be led by a world class athlete (I will disclose the secret identity when things get more concrete). We’re also working on a PJ Dance/Party – details to follow, and a PJ ski race – details to follow. I’m also working on a lot more things that can really make an impact and make our town truly the epicenter of this worldwide movement. I challenge you all to beat me. Make your town stand out – and if a bunch of us do that, the map can look like one of those early ‘Contagion’ viral maps. That’s the only way this will grab the attention of those who can propel our cause into hyperdrive.

It will be an entire day in your PJ’s – just like we autoimmunies have to spend (involuntarily) days on end. Except on our PJ day we’ll have some fun.

Because of this I have been talking to many people with a multitude of autoimmune diseases and am completely blown away at the similarities in our experiences. Pre diagnosis, getting the medical profession to acknowledge our symptoms, having to suck it up because we look relatively normal on the outside while feeling like crapola on the inside, even having to convince some doctors post diagnosis that you’re in danger if they remain inactive. It’s crazy. More and more I realize that AI is a bit of a mystery to the regular doctor/nurse/healthcare worker. We need to let the world know A) how many of us there are B) that our disease research is way underfunded proportionately speaking C) That it’s time to take this disease group seriously and start looking for a common thread which will if found open up billions of dollars in our medical systems to treat other diseases.

Let’s make PJ Day Viral. Do something and take pictures and video and send them this way. Let’s show the world that we’re not going to sit in our rooms quietly in our PJ’s anymore, we’re here to fight for ourselves…. just like we have to do so often with the medical profession. Gentle nudgy reminders that we’re here.