Paul Smolchek is president of Piper’s Angels Foundation, a non-profit that receives funding from the annual Crossing for Cystic Fibrosis 80-mile paddle challenge. At the center of this event, lies the heart of community and an individual’s ability to rise above physical limitations in order to help another human. Together, we can do so much more than by individual strength alone.
Read about Paul’s incredible passion for paddling and his inspiration drawn from this unlikely cast of characters that has changed his life for the better. This is a common theme surrounding the Crossing for Cystic Fibrosis.
Paul Smolchek, president of the Piper’s Angels Foundation, has always been a lifelong waterman. But, he found his tribe at the Crossing for Cystic Fibrosis.
Passion for Paddling: Crossing for Cystic Fibrosis & Pipers Angels
Why am I passionate about paddling? Why the Crossing? How has it impacted me to be a better human being? The easiest answer is that I have never in my life met a group of people more selfless than the paddle & surf community. Water people are everything.
I have been a waterman most of my life – a jack-of-all-trades, but master at none when it comes to water activities. I’ve tried nearly all of them. When I originally heard about this Epic Challenge of the 80-mile Crossing for Cystic Fibrosis, my first response was, “I need to do that! What a challenge.”
As I immersed myself into Piper’s Angels Foundation and the paddle crossing itself, I became awestruck by the people. The event organizers are these unbelievable souls who just “show up” for others with the intense purpose of empowering our CF warriors to push and challenge themselves and be near the healing benefits of salt water. The passionate people involved in the Crossing and Piper’s Angels never accept the words “You can’t” as a final answer. Anyone who spends time talking with Travis Suit will be convinced that you too can paddle across the ocean from Bimini to the Florida coast. Now, two years later, I have done it twice.
Learn More about the Crossing by checking out their website:
Paul has found the strength and inspiration within himself to accomplish the 80-mile open ocean Crossing for CF twice. In 2020, he’d been planning on crossing again with his two children. The Crossing has now been rescheduled for June 19-20th, 2021
Giving Back: Being a Part a Larger Community
Being a part of this extreme paddling event and becoming a supporter of Piper’s Angels has elevated my life and inspired me to be a better human being.
“I’ve learned beyond the shadow of a doubt that we are stronger together when we show up for one another.”
I feel as though my life has been extremely blessed. I’ve never had to deal with a life-altering diagnosis for my two children. I have tried to raise them with the “give back to the world more than they take from it” attitude. This year, the 2020 Crossing For Cystic Fibrosis, would have seen me crossing the ocean with both of my children as paddlers. To me, this shows just how strongly Piper’s Angels Foundation and the Crossing have empowered and strengthened a community that is far wider and deeper than just those individuals struggling with CF. I’ve learned beyond the shadow of a doubt that we are stronger together when we show up for one another.
Written by, Paul Smolchek
President Piper’s Angels Foundation
DONATE to Piper’s Angels Foundation, by clicking HERE:
Paul is seen here with Megan Tims, a CF warrior to whom the 2019 paddle challenge was dedicated. Megan is a double-lung transplant survivor who was not able to attend the event due to medical rejection connected to her lung transplant at the time of the crossing.
Today: Piper’s Angels & Impact of COVID-19
Due to the onset of COVID-19 many paddling events have been cancelled. It impacts us all, but more dramatically, it effects the multitude of non-profit groups deeply reliant on these events to receive necessary funding for their ongoing programs.
Last year alone, the Crossing for Cystic Fibrosis raised over $650,000 in fundraising for dedicated programs supporting the CF community. The Crossing raises 90% of the costs to run the multiple programs for Piper’s Angels Foundation which offer food, medicine and financial support to community members in desperate need. Today, they need our help.
One of the ways the Crossing for Cystic Fibrosis supports the CF community is through their Urgent Financial Assistance program. This vital program offers direct donations to families struggling with CF and in need of medicine or hospital stays.
TO DONATE to the Piper’s Angels Foundation, please visit their website at:
If you’ve read this far, we thank you. You are a believer. Please share this story with someone else and, if you’re able, donate through the provided link to support this tribe in need during this time. 100% of your donation will go to helping someone with Cystic Fibrosis.
Stay tuned for MORE inspiring stories from a powerful band of paddlers as Standup Journal recounts the motivation and explores the ‘WHY’ behind each paddler’s crossing. Who we are is the sum total of all our ‘Crossings’, both inner and outer. Let’s inspire each other & give back. Then, let’s give a little more.