by Melanie Devaney
“It’s devastating. It’s devastating to have a child with cancer. It’s devastating at any point in your life to go through financial challenges, but to have both of them come at the same time and really one as the result of the other is unimaginable,” said Compass To Care founder Michelle Ernsdorff-May, when asked to explain why the work her organization does is so important.
She began the organization in 2009 and incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2010. She asked her parents Mike and Sandy Ernsdorff to sit on the Board of Directors. This family knows all too well the challenges that come with childhood cancer. When Michelle was just fourteen months old, she was diagnosed with kidney cancer. The only option for treatment at the time was the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. To say it was a difficult time for the Ernsdorff’s is an understatement and Michelle recounts how one time her father had to hitch hike two hundred miles to return to Dubuque in order to work while she remained in the hospital with her mother. With this in mind, she started Compass to Care because of the financial and emotional sacrifices her parents made in order to save her life.
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