I believe that inside each of us lies a fire waiting to be lit. It’s the fire of being selfless and charitable so that your actions to one degree or another may have a positive impact on those around you. My name is Sean Dunleavy, and I would like to share with you how I came to be the head of the logistics and planning team for the Crossing for a Cure and the Admiral of the Fleet.
To review some high school science for a moment, a fire requires three elements to exist: heat (a spark), oxygen, and fuel. The spark that started my fire of contributing to changing things for the better in the CF community came as unexpectedly as lightning when in the early spring of 2017, a friend that I had met 14 years earlier in college, called to say that he needed someone to keep an eye on things during the second installment of Crossing for a Cure. We have enjoyed many adventures over the years together and I don’t remember thinking long about jumping in to help. With a new title bestowed by Travis as Admiral of the Fleet, I prepared to help keep 12 boats organized and 33 paddlers safe.
“Every breath I take reminds me of those that can’t; sometimes with searing pain, and with a life time of medical oversight. A community that I’ll meet a tiny percentage of…them and their families need help. They are my fuel and until they breathe as easily as me, I’ll have a hand in their survival.”– Sean Dunleavy
From my first Crossing until today, I have watched our event grow from those 33 incredible individuals to an army of Piper’s Angels that will most likely see 200 paddlers, 50 captains, 80 crew members, and 200 staff and support volunteers make the 2019 Crossing be the next beautiful evolution in this event.
Along the way, I have focused my attention on the safety of the paddlers and all crew members on the water; the recruitment of paddlers, captains, and volunteers, and the development of the event while we are in Bimini. It’s been a ton of fun, with moments of excitement, stress, and joy. I’m proud beyond words to be part of this movement.
Earlier I mentioned what makes a fire. Travis provided the spark, but where the oxygen and fuel come from are equally important to me. My fuel is my education into the CF community. I had watched Piper grow up via Travis and I learned a little about cystic fibrosis from their journey. They were my gateway to the community as a whole through Travis’s involvement and what I learned will be with me forever.
The oxygen to this fire is my family. They say timing in life is everything, and though I would have said yes to that call from Travis at any time, his call came at the perfect time in my life. I had just become a father the year before and I put myself in Travis’s shoes and wondered how I would process and proceed if my own daughter had cystic fibrosis. I would hope that the support the Piper’s Angels Foundation offers would find me and that I would fight every day for my daughter’s breaths. I want to leave this world better than I found it. For everyone, but most of all, my little girl.
We are an ever growing family of angels that fight for every breath. Help us grow by finding your fire and letting it burn brightly.
– Sean Dunleavy, Crossing For A Cure Committee Chair & Admiral of the Fleet