On Saturday at midnight, Jason and Julie Best, owners of Air-Bound Gymnastics in Logan, will embark on an 80-mile paddleboard journey across open ocean, something for which they aren’t entirely prepared. But facing challenges for the sake of their daughter, Jadaci, is nothing new to them.
As participants in the annual Crossing For a Cure event, the Bests are helping to raise funds to fight cystic fibrosis, a disease that continues to threaten the lives of so many children, including their 10-year-old daughter.
In 2013, two years after being told his own daughter had CF, Travis Suit, founder of the event, and three others paddled from the Bahamas to the Florida mainland “to gain exposure for everyone living in the CF community. … The difference of salt to CF patients can be the difference of a lifetime,” Suit said.
According to an article posted by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, doctors have discovered that inhaled saltwater helps rehydrate the lining of the lungs of CF patients and allows them to more easily eliminate bacteria-contaminated mucus. More than 70,000 CF patients endure hours of therapy every day, and though the life expectancy has “doubled in the past 25 years to age 37 — due to advances in treatment and care — funding is still needed to find the drug(s) leading to a cure,” the article states.
What started out with four men has now grown into an event with over solo and team 250 participants. Besides paying for their own transportation, accommodations, and food, the Bests are required to raise a total of $3,000 to donate to Piper’s Angel Fund.
Having never paddleboarded for anything but fun, the Bests have only had windy weather or boat waves on Hyrum Dam to prepare for paddling on ocean crests. Julie was also told that they would each need to wear an ankle knife because shark, whale and dolphin sightings were not uncommon.
As part of a relay team, the Bests are not required to paddle the whole 80 miles, but they both want to try to make the full journey.
“Because we have a daughter with cystic fibrosis,” Jason said, “doing it ourselves is much nearer to our hearts.”
Julie found out about the event through her work as a NordicTrack fitness model. Once Hannah Eden, a prominent fitness trainer and NordicTrack star, asked Julie why she worked out. Julie said that she brought Eden to tears with her answer: “Because one day it will save my daughter’s life. … My daughter has CF. I knew that this would have to be her lifestyle — exercise and taking really good care of her body. … I work out to be a good role model to her. This is just what she will have to do.”
Eden, a good friend of Travis Suit’s, then invited the Bests to join their relay team.
Suit said one of the purposes of the event is “to show that no matter what obstacles we face in life, we can always use the gift of choice to persevere.”
Donations to help the Best’s meet their fund raising requirement can be made by going to www.crowdrise.com/donate/event/CrossingForACure2019, selecting the PumpFit Squad, and then selecting either Julie or Jason’s names. For more info about the event or to follow the Best’s progress on the 15th, visit https://www.crossingforacure.com.