Saturday, September 21, 2024

On Saturday, Sept 21, 2024, you can join Inflamed Brain Alliance at our Steppin’ Out for PANS PANDAS 2 & 5 km walk in support of Canada’s children, youth, young adults, and families battling the tragic effects of PANS PANDAS.

Steppin’ Out is a Canada-wide family-friendly, virtual and in-person awareness & fundraising peer-to-peer event.

Steppin' Out 2023 - group photo

On our 2nd Annual walk day, Steppin’ Outers will move their hearts and legs outside the comfort zone in solidarity to help end suffering of these neuroimmune inflammatory brain disorders.

You CAN help bring health to mind.
Register. Fundraise. Donate. 

Places you can Step Out for PANS PANDAS

Calgary, Alberta - Steppin' Out 2023

everything you need to know!

  • walk distance: 2 or 5 km
  • date & time: Saturday, Sept. 21, 2024 1 – 3 PM
  • save to calendar: Google | Outlook | ics

You can walk virtually anywhere

  • Virtual walks:
    • No matter where you are, you can walk at any time on Sept. 21 (preferred).
    • Gather your family, friends and colleagues together to fundraise and step out on a local park path with your Steppin’ Out t-shirt you proudly deserve.

2 in-person locations this year!

Calgary, AB – Bowness Park (Google map route)

Mississauga, ON – Erindale Park (Google map route)

  • In-person walks:
    • Check-in opens at noon
    • After your walk, enjoy some snacks & beverages and mingle with others!

For PANS PANDAS families, a comfort zone rarely exists in their home.

The comfort zone is a “behavioral space where our activities and behaviors fit a routine and pattern that minimizes stress and risk.” For most PANS PANDAS families, a comfort zone rarely exists in their home, and ‘stress’ and ‘risk’ are often commonplace.

Gone is any sense of predictability, security and certainty. Their lives are in a camp outside of a psychological & physical comfort zone, with stress and anxiety at the core. Often they’re “walking on eggshells” and not quite sure what will happen next, nonetheless how to react.

Sadly, public awareness and support of PANS PANDAS has been distressingly slow in Canada, which compounds the frustration and helplessness the kids and families often feel. That’s why IBA is deeply committed to raising awareness and funds for helping eliminate barriers and suffering for everyone impacted by PANS PANDAS. All funds raised will go to support IBA’S developing programs (peer support, group therapy, eLearning, research), including launching Canada’s very own PANS PANDAS patient registry.

By Steppin’ Out together, every stride we take powers the future for those with PANS PANDAS who otherwise have little support and resources to restore their physical & mental health.

IBA is deeply committed to raising awareness and funds for helping eliminate barriers and suffering for everyone impacted by PANS PANDAS.

why IBA is Steppin’ Out

Steppin’ Out for is PANS PANDAS is a day when Canadians declare their solidarity with thousands of children, youth, young adults and their families across Canada and around the world who are desperately seeking professional care, support and reprieve from the mental and physical hardship of living with this debilitating disorder.

our core values
  • we honour the well-being of everyone affected by PANS/PANDAS
  • we courageously create opportunities out of challenges
  • we embrace out-of-the-box thinking
  • we draw upon the wisdom of the community
  • we embrace multi-disciplinary and integrative medicine
our vision

Eliminate barriers for everyone impacted by PANS/PANDAS to end suffering and rebuild hope.

our mission

We bring together those within and beyond the PANS PANDAS community to improve health outcomes, deliver education, and accelerate research to help find a cure.

our appreciation

We hope Steppin’ Out inspires you to become more informed about brain inflammation caused by PANS PANDAS, and move you to become more involved with the change making work of Inflamed Brain Alliance. The increasing importance and urgency of PANS PANDAS awareness can’t be overstated.

It’s the generous support and commitment of our PANS PANDAS community that will help IBA bring health to mind across Canada. Your involvement will allow us to bring about the critical changes needed in health education. On behalf of all those IBA serves, thank you for helping us restore the lives and hope of those impacted.

Steppin’ Out tradition continues!

As a walker, we’ll provide you with an exclusive “ya earned it” Steppin’ Out t-shirt as our thank you for raising a modest minimum to support the work of IBA. When you raise the minimum levels below, we say thank you with our stylin’ t-shirt, which you’ll get in your mailbox. If you’re walking in-person at Calgary or Mississauga event, we’ll hand it to you… literally.

Youth 0-17: Fundraise $75 or more
Adults 18 and over: Fundraise $150 or more

Put your social weight into your fundraising and be one of the first 10 participants to raise $500 to win a super-comfy limited edition Inflamed Brain Alliance pullover hoodie.

All you have to do is register and start fundraising – we’ll track all the donations coming in and the first 10 participants to get to $500 get the hoodie. So hurry… HARD! These’ll go fast.

nice. so how does this work?
  1. Register to fundraise online. Make sure you enter your correct mailing address.
  2. Fundraise $500 or more. For the purposes of this promo, we only count verified funds (a.k.a. online donations), not cash pledges.
  3. Do it fast. We’re only producing 10 hoodies, and they’ll only be available for the first 10 people who reach $500.
but how will you know my size?

After the 10 hoodies are earned, we’ll send the winners a quick note and a link to select their size. Once we have all the digits, we’ll order exactly 10 limited edition hoodies and mail one of them right to your home.

A quick one-pager with 8 easy tips to jumpstart your fundraising mojo.

A bunch of handy templates to jumpstart your donor emails to relatives, friends, colleagues, or acquaintances.

high 5 donors
The high 5 donors campaign is the better, cooler, stress-free way to fundraise. Rather than setting a fundraising goal, set a goal of getting 5 donors.

[Used with permission from Blue Sea Foundation.
BIG thanks to Blue Sea!]

Why five donors?

Because getting 5 donors makes you a fundraising champ. You’re putting yourself out there in a big way and making your walk really count. You can’t predict what your donors will give, but chances are your results will be fantastic! And if every participant like you gets 5 donors, Inflamed Brain Alliance will do great and get 5 times the attention!

Yeah, but why 5 specifically?

Well first, it just sounds cool. (We made a little logo and everything!) But also, the average donation in Steppin’ Out will be fifty bucks or so – some lower, some higher – and so we think it’s a great way to think about hitting your goal.

Where do I even start?

Update your personal fundraising page with two important things:

  • One sweet selfie of you smiling
  • One short-but-personal message about why you’re walking + fundraising

When the donors you ask come to your personal fundraising page, they’ll a) love seeing your face, and b) enjoy reading your ‘why’.

Here is the secret to fundraising success. Ready? You’ll need to ask some people. That’s really it! Here are some stress-free suggestions to get five (High 5 that is) donors, easy:

  • Donation #1: The easiest one – make a self-donation first! That takes you from merely registered to committed – people will see you’re serious when they come to your personal fundraising page. Boom, you’re 20% there!
  • Donation #2: Email your mom, dad, grandma, or favourite uncle, and ask for a donation. Explain why you are participating and why giving encourages you and helps your charity, which in turn helps your community. They love you – they’ll give. Voila, 2 donors down!
  • Donation #3: Look your best friend in the eye, explain what you’re doing, and ask for $50. They’ve got the money, you know they do – what are friends for? While you’re at it, go ahead and ask them to join your team. Look at you – 3 donors already!
  • Donation #4: Cosy up to your crush/spouse/general bae all cha-cha smooth and ask them for a donation commensurate with their love for you. They might expect you to give too if they’re participating, but hey, all’s fair in love and fundraising, right?
  • Donation #5: Connect with your favorite work friend or boss, tell them how you are humbly making a difference in your community, and ask them for a donation. They’ll give to you because they feel honoured that you’re asking them, and because they’re proud of you for being a world changer.

Way #1: Fast + Effective: Write a short, personal fundraising email and send it to friends and family. Explain why you are participating and how their fundraising will help your community. Definitely be sure to include the link to your personal fundraising page where they can give and get receipted in minutes. Read some sample emails here.

Way #2: Slower (but also still super effective): Print off a Steppin’ Out pledge form and go to your school/work/gym/church/social group and ask people face-to-face to support you. This undeniably takes a little bravery, and you know what? They’ll know it, see your bravery, and reward it. Add those pledges to your CanadaHelps page so your thermometer goes up too.

Sure, it’s worth a shot, why not? But you can’t beat face-to-face – it’s the best and fastest way to Get 5, guaranteed. Your early momentum will encourage you and help make the fundraising experience positive.

Facebook Fundraising Note: Don’t use Facebook’s specific fundraising buttons, they make kind of a mess of things for your donors and IBA – just share your CharityHelps link and you’ll do great.

Your first goal is to get to 5 donors – that’s all you need. After that, it doesn’t matter that much. Maybe you’ll feel like such a pro that you’ll want to keep going, maybe you’ll want to see that thermometer fill all the way up, maybe you’ll keep pushing up that goal every time you get close to keep it going – the sky’s the limit!

So you wanna be a captain? Here’s 12 tips for team recruiting.

Collect your cash/cheque donations with this pledge form (includes a quick how-to guide too).

A quick one-pager with tips, help, and instructions for walk volunteer photographers.

Thank you Team Captains!

You’re the boots that get Steppin’ Out moving. You play a vital role in the event, and we’re grateful for your leadership.

How to Begin

Register online and create your team with a fun name!

  • Recruit 7-10 of your friends and family to register, fundraise and walk with you.
  • Fundraise personally as captain and encourage your teammates to fundraise too. As a rule, team captains fundraise 3X more than their teammates. You set the pace!
  • Donate to your own campaign and your teammates to set a generous fundraising tone of the event.
  • Communicate frequently with your team to keep them excited and connected.

Captains make it happen! 99% of being a great captain is being an encouraging friend – here’s the rest of it:

  • Set a good fundraising goal: It’s up to you to set the team fundraising goal. A $1500 or $2000 goal is a good start, but it depends on your team and your expectations of them – talk to your teammates and build your own goal! Most participants raise around $250-$300, but some raise much more. What’s important is to settle on a goal and talk about it often in your communication. Don’t worry, you can edit your goal anytime.
  • Talk about the t-shirt: When any of your teammates fundraise $150 (adults) or $75 (youth) they get thanked with a nifty, freshly-designed Steppin’ Out  t-shirt. Talk it up!
  • Brainstorm teammates: As you begin, consider all the potential teammates you could ask to join your team. Write their names down without a lot of self-editing, and keep brainstorming. Talk to your team to get more ideas, and encourage them to bring on teammates who will fundraise too.
  • Communicate: Stay in contact with your team, both during the campaign and on Event Day. Group texts, short emails, and the odd phone call over the campaign period will keep you and your team encouraged and focused. Welcome new members joyfully, and celebrate good fundraising pushes! Then, on Event Day you’ll want to make sure your team has your cell number handy to stay connected.

Consider asking your…

  • Spouse/partner (of course they’ll join your team or… the couch)
  • Kids
  • Siblings
  • Mom or Dad
  • Work mates (even your boss)
  • Neighbours
  • Friends
  • Boss
  • Classmates
  • Why not ask your pilates instructor, yoga friend, the guy beside you on the bus every morning, your favourite barista who always remembers your order, your accountant, your lawyer, your doctor, dentist, or do-gooder friend at the club – the list is endless. Have fun brainstorming!

Handling Money

All cash or cheque donations must be sent directly to Inflamed Brain Alliance by participants.

  • Credit Card: This is the  Best Option! Simple, secure, automatic tax receipt for gifts of $3+. Visit the Donate page, share your personal page link..
  • Cheques: The Old Faithful – made out to “Inflamed Brain Alliance” with your name on the Memo line. Mail them to the Inflamed Brain Alliance mailing address along with your completed pledge sheet.
  • Cash: You have 2 options:
    1. Login to CanadaHelps, click “Enter $$ and Cheques,” create pledges for your cash donations, pay them off with your personal credit card, and keep the cash. OR…
    2. Write a cheque (made out to “Inflamed Brain Alliance”) for the total amount of cash you’ve collected. Mail it with your completed pledge sheet to:

      Steppin’ Out for PANS PANDAS
      ℅ Inflamed Brain Alliance
      PO Box 71023 Silver Springs
      Calgary, AB, T3B 5K2

Watch for Waivers

Everyone on your team must register to walk.

  • When they register online, they will automatically accept an electronic waiver.


remember… be sure to tag us!
Twitter: @inflamedbrain_
Facebook: @inflamedbrainalliance
Instagram: @inflamedbrainalliance
LinkedIn: /company/inflamed-brain-alliance/

Come Back Soon!

Thanks so much for your early interest in volunteering for Steppin’ Out. We appreciate that you’re already thinking about us!

Our Volunteers are Vital

We will be officially opening this volunteer signup page on July 2, 2024. Be sure to check back here soon!

In the meantime, why not register to fundraise? As a volunteer you can double-help by fundraising too. Just select the ‘volunteer’ option on the registration form.

media inquiries

Are you a journalist writing a story on the Steppin’ Out walk and looking to interview someone from Inflamed Brain Alliance?

Please contact Marnie Deschenes for all press/media related inquiries.

social media

The Steppin’ Out walk will be all over social media, allowing us to share meaningful info and be connected to donors, participants and future sponsors. So, wear your walk day shirt proud, snap a photo, and share it on your social media using the hashtag #SteppinOutForPANSPANDAS.

be sure to tag us!
Twitter: @inflamedbrain_
Facebook: @inflamedbrainalliance
Instagram: @inflamedbrainalliance
LinkedIn: /company/inflamed-brain-alliance/

It’s easy to be a Team Captain!

  • Sign up and create your Team page, setting a team fundraising goal and telling your team’s fundraising story through words and visuals.
  • Create your own Team Captain page, setting your own personal fundraising goal and telling people why you are fundraising.
  • Invite team members so they can create their own Team Member page using the Short URL or built-in social sharing features to reach out to your personal networks.

TIP: As Team Captain, be sure to keep in touch with your team throughout the campaign, offering fundraising ideas and support, reporting on fundraising progress, and keeping everyone motivated to reach your team goal.

CanadaHelps Fundraising Tips for Team Captains – PDF

Yes. Team Captains have a Participants tab listing Team members and can choose to send an email message to one or more team members.

No. Your email address can only be associated with one CanadaHelps account. When you sign up to join IBA’s Steppin’ Out Peer-to-Peer campaign, as a Team Captain or Team Member you are prompted to provide your email address. If the email address is associated with a CanadaHelps account they present a message that this service is Powered by CanadaHelps and prompts you to login to your CanadaHelps account. Otherwise, you’re prompted to create a new account on CanadaHelps.

When donors already have a CanadaHelps account, the system will detect it and give donors the option to check out faster by entering their CanadaHelps password.

pledge form checklist

  • Download the Steppin’ Out Pledge Form
  • Gather all your cash and cheque donations in zip-lock bags
  • Compare to your pledge form to ensure everything matches
  • Highlight any uncollected pledges on your sheet
  • Fill in missing addresses, postal codes, and emails

if you have cheques

  • Examine to make sure cheques are all:
    • signed and not post-dated
    • payable to “Inflamed Brain Alliance” with your name on memo line
  • Enter the donor’s info on the pledge sheet
  • Transfer the pledge sheet info online. Enter all donations via your own CandaHelps page (see steps below: “if you have cash”)
  • Mail to Inflamed Brain Alliance with your completed pledge form

if you have cash

  1. Login to CanadaHelps to enter your ‘offline’ (cash & cheque) donations;
  2. Log in using your email address and password;
  3. Click on the “Your Fundraising Pages” tab;
  4. Click on the “Edit” button next to the name of your team page, and then on the “Donations” tab;
  5. Click on the “Add Offline Donation” button, enter the required information, and click on the “Add Donation” button to save.
  6. Write a cheque (payable to Inflamed Brain Alliance) for the total amount of collected cash.
  7. Mail to Inflamed Brain Alliance with your completed pledge form, and keep the cash.
Mailing Address

Steppin’ Out for PANS PANDAS
c/o Inflamed Brain Alliance
PO Box 71023 Silver Springs
Calgary, AB, T3B 5K2

You sure can! Any donations of $3 or more will generate a tax receipt, including donations you make to your own fundraising campaign.

This can only be performed by the participant who started the team (the Team Captain).

No – however, to get their little mitts on one of our fabulous Steppin’ Out t-shirts, kids of any age need to fundraise $75 or more, and eat at least 2 more bites of that broccoli.

Yes – all donations must be submitted online to IBA online or by mail by October 23, 2023. Be sure cheques are made out to Inflamed Brain Alliance and include the participant’s name in the memo line.

Mailing Address

Steppin’ Out for PANS PANDAS
c/o Inflamed Brain Alliance
PO Box 71023 Silver Springs
Calgary, AB, T3B 5K2

You betcha! Anyone who hits their fundraising minimum ($150 for adults, $75 for youth 17 and under) qualifies for one of our iconic Steppin’ Out t-shirts.

Once you register online at CanadaHelps, you can use the online campaign site to send your friends and family a link to your personal fundraising page. There, they can give to you securely online by credit card.

Yes, you can. Cheques made out to “Inflamed Brain Alliance” should include the participant/team name on the memo line.

CanadaHelps issues charitable tax receipts for donations of $3 or more. They also require a full, current mailing address for the donor (as per CRA legislation). Gifts made online with a credit card get automatically receipted, while cash or cheque gifts given in at the registration table (in-person sites only) on Steppin’ Out Day will be receipted by email or regular mail within 60 days of the event.

You can register online at any time leading up to Steppin’ Out Day. We recommend you register early so that you can use the weeks before Steppin’ Out Day to raise lots of funds for IBA.

  • Log into your charity account on CanadaHelps.
  • Go to the ‘Donations’ section.
  • Click the envelope next to each donation, write your message in the text box and click send. Your personalized message will be sent directly to your donor’s email inbox.

Yes! The only way we let anyone get their hands on one of the Steppin’ Out t-Shirts is by reaching their fundraising minimum – that’s $150 for adults 18+, or $75 for youth aged 17 and under.

No, there is no registration fee! Instead, we encourage all participants to focus on fundraising for Inflamed Brain Alliance.

To earn a snazzy t-shirt, Steppin’ Out participants must fundraise $150+ for adults, or $75+ for youth under 17.

Important note: T-Shirts are earned individually, and not as part of a team fundraising effort! We are only able to distribute shirts to individual participants who have met their minimum amounts above – donations made directly to a team or to a team captain aren’t included.

No… but it’s better if you do! We encourage all teams and participants to set aside September 23 as the big day when their fundraising activity will either happen or conclude. If your team has scheduling conflicts, feel free to move it to any day between Sep 21 and Oct 9, and make it happen!

No – all children aged 12 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times.

Yes! Each member of your team can select their own distance during registration (and change it later if needed).

You can walk anywhere you like (as long as it’s safe)! However, donors outside Canada will likely not be able to use the Canadian Tax Receipt we issue when they support you.

No – you can have as many or as few people on a team as you like! All the way from one to one thousand.

If your team, rather than a specific team member, has raised some cash and/or cheque donations you can either:

  • Mail in cheques, with instructions on how to assign each donation amongst the team, OR…
  • Pay off cash donations with a personal credit card (and keep the cash). Then email us at with instructions on how to assign each donation. However, please note that we are not able to split credit card payments between teammates.

Yes – if you get sick, do what’s needed to get better! But remember, you can do your activity at any time, and the money you raise for your charity is still valuable. So if you are able, reschedule instead of cancelling.

If you receive cash or cheques made payable to YOU, please log into your charity account on CanadaHelps. You then have one of two choices:

  • Pay the donations online with your credit card and keep the cash/personal cheques. By doing so, you deem your donations “complete” and nothing else needs to be done or sent to us. OR…

Bank the cash and personal cheques and write Inflamed Brain Alliance a cheque from YOU, payable to Inflamed Brain Alliance, in the amount of your total funds received. Mail this cheque, along with any other cheque donations you have collected, to Inflamed Brain Alliance.

Yes – have them made out to Inflamed Brain Alliance, with your name on the memo line. This allows us to connect you to your team and your team to your charity. They should be sent to the Inflamed Brain Alliance after the event.

No – Inflamed Brain Alliance does not share your information with anyone. Period. For more information:

Yes. Because of the way event insurance works, everyone who participates needs to register.

No problem! If you need to find an offline method to register, just email us at One of our team will be happy to help.

Yes. When you register online, you accept and digitally sign the waiver – no signed paper waiver is required.

Email us and we’ll take care of it for you. We’ll need to know:

  •  The name of the donor
  •  The amount of the donation
  •  Who they had given to originally (participant or team name), and
  •  Who they would like the donation moved to

CanadaHelps accepts international donations, but the donations will always be processed in Canadian currency.

For example, if you donate $50, your card will be charged $50 Canadian dollars, and your financial institution will make the conversion to your local currency, based on the current exchange rate.

Please note that CanadaHelps is a Canadian charity and only issues Canadian tax receipts.

Yes. Just make sure you ask personally – explain why you are participating and how your fundraising will help the Inflamed Brain Alliance. People will give if you give them a chance – don’t answer for them!