Posted on July 7, 2011 @ 11:03 am by

Yeah. It was a Moving First Meeting.

Alexis FinchEPIC’s creative team for the nonprofit, Compass to Care, just held its first meeting this week. Among those in attendance? Alexis Finch, a self-proclaimed sketchnotes addict who, along with her teammates, is volunteering eight weeks of her time and talent to produce probono marketing for her team’s nonprofit client. Compass to Care helps families contend with the travel required in order to receive the best cancer care for their children. Finch has already fallen for that mission (who wouldn’t?)–and hard. In this post for EPIC, she writes about her admiration for the cause and her hopes for the next eight weeks. “The stakes are high,” she says, “but we’ve got a strong team.” Read on for more. And check out her sketchnotes from the meeting.


In my life, there have been only a handful of times that I have sat in the presence of passion. Much less, passion that is not based upon eventual monetary gain, or some fancy new toy created for personal benefit. Yes, I’m speaking askance of all those startups we hear about day after day. A new iPhone game app that’s bound to break $100K in profits by the end of its launch day, or another targeted, daily-deal site where you never question how the products can be so cheap. No, sitting next to Michelle Ernsdorff, the sole founder of Compass to Care was another experience entirely.

Compass to Care was bootstrapped into non-profit status not over years, but in just two months through the passion, drive, and diligence of one woman. The website isn’t fancy; it’s got stock photos and some funky navigation, but that’s why we’re here. It’s trying to do a lot for people who are in desperate need. This is a company created not to cure cancer, but simply to get children and their families to where the cure might be.

I never thought of these issues before. I’m from Boston originally and have been in Chicago for thirteen years. For me, the best medical care available has always been at my doorstep. My most difficult challenge has been coping with a subway ride to the hospital when I had a fever, or realizing that I really cannot ride my bike home after a root canal.

Families with children enrolled in experimental cancer treatments have far more serious issues to contemplate. They’re families of five with only one car and their hospital is two hours away. They’re single mothers in Iowa who have to figure out how to get to Texas once a week for their child’s new chemo treatment. These are families who are somehow figuring out how to manage mountains of medical bills, but who are making tough choices because they can’t afford the gas prices to get to the best treatment option . . . for their child.

Yeah. It was a moving first meeting. The most inspiring part? How simple the answer is. Defray the costs of travel, so that choosing a treatment is all about just that: the treatment. Not how many miles, or how much the airfare is, or if there’s enough money left to have breakfast in a strange city.

The stakes are high, but we’ve got a strong team. Let’s see how far we can take this in the next eight weeks.

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