Piper’s Angels’ ‘Crossing for Cystic Fibrosis’ marking 10th year

Paddlers are set to cross Gulf Stream June 25

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by Mary Chapman |

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Roughly 200 paddlers are set to cross the Atlantic Ocean’s Gulf Stream on June 25 to support cystic fibrosis (CF) families through the Piper’s Angels Foundation, marking the fundraiser’s 10th anniversary.

The long-distance endurance paddle challenge and international championship race has raised more than $2.7 million to date to fund financial assistance to CF families, the foundation’s “Forever Stoke” scholarship program that introduces patients to ocean water sports, and the “Unmasking Mindfulness” meditation and “P2P” mentorship programs.

Participants in “Crossing for Cystic Fibrosis” will depart for Bimini in The Bahamas on June 21 and spend time together before heading out at midnight on June 24 for the 80-mile Atlantic trip on stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, and canoes. Some 12-16 hours later, they expect to arrive at Lake Worth Beach, Florida where they’ll be greeted by friends and family members in a beachside celebration. An event pre-party is set for May 21 at Safe Harbor Rybovich Riviera Beach.

Fundraiser participation categories are “competitive” and “recreational,” with solo and relay paddle team options. Cash prizes will be awarded in the competitive categories. Each participant is asked to raise at least $2,000.

To ensure paddlers are safe and have sufficient food and water, each team will be accompanied by a safety boat. The U.S. Coast Guard has been apprised of the paddlers’ float plan.

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Piper will join the ‘Crossing’

The organization and fundraiser were established by Travis Suit whose daughter, Piper, now 15, was diagnosed with CF at age 4. An avid paddler, Suit became aware of the benefits of the ocean and salt air for people with the chronic disorder that affects various organs, including the lungs, pancreas, liver, and intestines, and became active within the cystic fibrosis community to help other families.

Piper will be a high school sophomore this fall. She is on her school’s honor roll and is a varsity cheerleader. This year, for the first time, she will join the event as a relay team paddler.

“From expensive yet lifesaving medication to hotel stays near hospitals to support at home, cystic fibrosis families need help. In recent years, the lifespan for those with cystic fibrosis has greatly expanded due to new medications, as well as research showing the benefits of fresh, clean air and salt air. But there are so many families in the world, who don’t have access to medication, advanced medical care, and even clear air,” Suit said in a news release.

The first “Crossing” occurred in 2013 when Suit and three others paddled from the Bahamas to the Florida mainland. That 90-mile trip took about 15.5 hours. “The Crossing for a Cure provided a great opportunity to show that no matter what obstacles we face in life, we can always use the gift of choice to persevere,” Suit writes on a webpage about the event. Registration has closed for this year’s fundraiser.

Last year, the Piper’s Angels Foundation was able to assist 204 families.