The US-based charity organization Compass to Care is dedicated to the relief of the travel and accommodation costs that inevitably accompany the medical treatment of children diagnosed with cancer. A $25,000 (US) grant from IBA is supporting this mission. “Travel expenses generally don’t exceed $5,000, so this new grant will help at least five children obtain PT treatment,” says Compass to Care founder Michelle Ernsdorff.

When she was barely a year old, Michelle was diagnosed with kidney cancer. “Since there was no oncologist in my hometown of Dubuque, Iowa, the 200-mile journey to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, put a huge financial burden on my parents. They were middle class people with a single income, three children and another baby on the way. Unable to afford bus fare, my dad once even found himself hitchhiking home from work when my mom needed the car because I was unexpectedly hospitalized,” says Michelle.

“Working in the medical field, I realized there were lots of families struggling with similar issues. That is why I founded Compass to Care,” she explains. Now Michelle dedicates herself full time to this cause, backed by 30 volunteers. Selection criteria are strictly verified, a real financial need has to be established and the travelling distance needs to exceed 60 miles – a condition that applies to almost one-third of the children who need cancer treatment, and one that is easily met for those needing PT.

In 2014, an estimated 15,780 children under the age of 19 will be diagnosed with cancer in the USA1. Although Compass to Care’s ultimate goal is to help all families in need, it as yet lacks the funds. IBA is helping to close this gap by donating for the fourth year in a row. “The first $20,000 donation from IBA was in response to some specific requests to travel for PT treatment, and permitted us to expand our Midwest activities to the East Coast,” says Michelle. “Since, IBA contributes $25,000 a year to our cause. In four years Compass to Care has helped 114 children, 91% of whom are expected to see adulthood.”

For more information, go to http://compasstocare.org/


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