5th Annual Jasper PJ Day Grows Up: Aims to Raise Funds and Awareness Throughout Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month
Jasper, Canada (February 23, 2016) –
On Monday, February 29th, Jasper locals and visitors alike will stay in their pajamas as they march through the streets for PJ Day, now celebrating its 5th year. The PJ parade, organized to happen on Rare Disease Day, aims to raise awareness for autoimmune disease, and this year it will kick off a month of PJ-clad events and fundraisers in honour of Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month beginning in March.
“Last year we had over 700 people marching in their PJs,” says Marta Rode, co-founder of Find The Common Thread, a Jasper-based foundation that focuses on raising awareness of the widespread presence of autoimmune diseases and to raise funds for research. “This year we’d love to make it 1,000. That would be almost a quarter of Jasper’s population marching together in solidarity.”
Rode has been a passionate champion for autoimmune disease awareness since she was first diagnosed with Wegener’s Granulomatosis in 2010.
When asked why pajamas are often at the centre of Find The Common Thread’s awareness-building initiatives, her answer is a simple but powerful reflection on the lives of those living with one of the 140 different disorders and diseases that make up the etiological category,
“The people we are standing up for are often prisoners of their PJs for months, sometimes even years.”
After the PJ Day march, which will begin at noon on the Information Centre Lawn at the centre of the Jasper town site, supporters can plan on staying comfortable in their pajamas for a series of fund- and awareness-raising events throughout the entire month of March. A PJ Healing Weekend, PJ art events, onesie parties, PJ fat bike rides, yoga, and a group ski day are just a few of the many activities being planned. As always, the community is coming together with their own additions, including pancake breakfasts, and even a penny auction.
To help take the message worldwide, supporters will also be engaging in an online #PJChallenge that kicks off on the 29th. Similar to the Ice Bucket Challenge, people are encouraged to challenge friends and followers outside of Jasper to don their pajamas and do something PJ-oriented, sharing their videos on social media using the hashtag and challenging others to do the same.
For the first time, all funds raised by 2016’s PJ activities will go toward the creation of a Jasper-based Chronic Illness Healing Center that will focus on healing by addressing not only the physical but also the mental and spiritual aspects of disease.
For more information on PJ Day and autoimmune disease, please visit findthecommonthread.com