How Crossing From the Bahamas to Florida is Like Planning For Retirement

Rainbow over Crossing Crusaders at 2018 Crossing For Cystic Fibrosis.
Rainbow over Crossing Crusaders at 2019 Crossing For Cystic Fibrosis.

When I found out about Piper’s Angels and the Crossing for Cystic Fibrosis, it seemed like just another one of my crazy daydreams, not something that I would ever actually do.  Still, I researched it and it became something that I not only wanted to do, but something that I felt compelled to do.  

As a financial planner, I sit at my desk day after day, helping people plan for their future.  After getting to know Travis Suit and Piper’s Angels Foundation, I realized that I have the ability to help people plan in a different way.  Getting involved in this mission has been life-changing for me, but more importantly, I hope that the efforts we have all put forth will be life-changing for the families affected by cystic fibrosis.  

None of us would train, fundraise and be excited about preparing to paddle 80 miles across the ocean, if we weren’t passionate about this cause, and its benefits for the CF community. When I signed up, I found myself talking to everybody I knew about the Crossing. Most said it was crazy, but there were some who were inspired to join and make a difference with me.  

This is why I am good at what I doؙ: I’m invested in people’s future, not just making someone money in the stock market. Planning from day one to retirement is a marathon or a long distance paddle—not a race. It’s about the team that helps you on your journey. It’s about training for years to achieve something that seems so far out of reach, much like training to cross the Gulf Stream and landing on that beach in Florida. 

Even my firm, Henssler Financial, saw how dedicated I had become to fundraising and decided to join us in the fight. After all, the firm’s core value is investing in others, and Piper’s Angels is an organization that truly gives that value meaning and purpose.  In this case, it’s not just growing funds, it’s what that money will do to enhance the life of its recipients—CF families struggling to meet the financial and emotional, and needs brought on by this disease.

Now, I’m not personally affected by CF. The truth is, we all have struggles and we all need help at one time or another.  It’s definitely easier to sit back while other people try to make a difference, but I want to make a difference in the lives of others while I am able to do so.  I also want to inspire my children to take chances, create their own adventures, and live a meaningful life.  If my participating in this challenge can do this and raise awareness and money for cystic fibrosis, then I’m in.

I want to make a difference in the lives of others while I am able to do so.  I also want to inspire my children to take chances, create their own adventures, and live a meaningful life. 

D. James Barker

My youngest daughter’s favorite quote comes from the movie Soul Surfer.  Bethany Hamilton says, “I don’t need easy, I just need possible.”  I want my girls to witness all of us participating in an event like Crossing for a Cystic Fibrosis because I want to teach them that even if life is not always easy, anything is possible and achievable with the right attitude, hard work and dedication.  

I want to thank Travis Suit for opening my eyes to something so important and for teaching me about the endurance needed to live a life with a challenge like a chronic, progressive disease.  I want to thank my family, friends, and Henssler Financial for supporting this epic expedition.  I want to thank that lent their support, camaraderie, and inspiration during my journey.  And thank you to Piper for being the angel you are.

–D. James Barker, 2019 Crossing Crusader

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