In the middle of the night Saturday, an Army of Angels will take off on paddleboards, kayaks and other non-motorized watercrafts, following only a guide boat and the stars. The Crossing for Cystic Fibrosis is a yearly event that challenges those brave enough to take on the 80-mile journey from Bimini, Bahamas to Lake Worth, Florida. This year marks the event's 10-year anniversary, and around 180 paddlers are getting ready to take on the challenge of open ocean paddling across the Atlantic to raise awareness for those with cystic fibrosis.   


Cystic fibrosis, commonly called CF, is a chronic genetic condition that causes the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the airways and lungs. About 70,000 worldwide have the disease and as of now there are treatments, but no cure has been found. In 2011, Travis Suit’s daughter, Piper, was diagnosed with CF at the young age of four. During Piper’s first clinic appointment, her family realized the incredible healing powers of the ocean and that salt water can help alleviate the symptoms of those with CF. Not much long after, The Crossing for Cystic Fibrosis came to life, and in 2013 Suit and a few others paddled from the Bahamas to Florida’s mainland to gain support for the cause. For the first time, Piper will take on the challenge with the other paddlers this year.   


Also accepting the challenge this year is our very own Tiffany Idle, technology training and support specialist here at Compass. Tiffany and her partner have been fundraising for The Crossing and Piper’s Angels all year and have only been eating good food this month to be able to relay paddle board the whole 80 miles, switching every 45 minutes. Thanks to a sponsorship from Drink Chido, the duo has a decked-out paddle board and is ready to take on the country’s largest sporting event for CF. 


Participants and volunteers spend all year preparing and fundraising but the week before the event is when things really get exciting. Everyone heads to Bimini early for a week of celebration before the big day. Around 400 people take over the whole island and nearly every hotel room available. The Crossing is supported by a nonprofit organization Suit created for his daughter and the other CF warriors out there. The Piper’s Angels Foundation focuses on making life better for those with CF today and taking an approach that can change their lives now.  


June is considered one of the best months to make this trip across the Atlantic and although wind and weather can change quickly, the coast guard has been notified of the float plan in case of emergency. First thing Sunday, the paddlers will embark on their 80-mile journey, and most won’t make it back to the Lake Worth Pier until around 3 p.m. That’s at least 13 hours of continuous paddling to support cystic fibrosis awareness! 


The Crossing is just one of the special events hosted annually in South Florida. Throughout the year, different events and initiatives are held to raise awareness for and funds for various missions. 

To donate to Piper’s Angels Foundation through Tiffany Idle click here!

Written by, Megan Bauries

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