Our History

CompassioNow was established in 2005 by Ed and Wendy Bjurstrom after they visited a number of rural African villages during trips in 2002 and 2004. Throughout their visits, they found many people not only suffering from HIV/AIDS, but who were also in great need of the most basic healthcare services. 

Their trip to Africa in 2002 had a profound effect on both Ed and Wendy, and stirred their desire to do something about the need they witnessed. In 2004, Ed recognized the need for a career change and decided to leave his position at Amgen to begin the next stage of his professional life. In some way, he wanted to help address the African HIV/AIDS crisis. Based on his years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, he explored various approaches to providing access to treatment for AIDS patients in Africa. After a frustrating year of effort, he shifted his focus to working with existing medical clinics in Africa to help them be more effective in their work and began to seek ways to help communities start new clinics where none existed. CompassioNow was born out of an urgent desire to make a difference NOW, not talk about how we might make a difference in the future.

Ed and Wendy’s trip to Africa in 2004 was particularly important for them to understand the healthcare crisis in Africa at a hands-on level. During this trip they visited Ethiopia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. They met with doctors who treat AIDS patients, visited hospices, AIDS clinics, rural clinics, pharmaceutical manufacturers, hospitals and people dying of AIDS in their mud huts with no access to medical treatment. In many places, people had very limited access or no access to any kind of medical care, much less access to AIDS treatment. However, in every community and village they visited, they found people who were doing their best to help their neighbors. Often this was the poor helping the destitute and dying. A typical example of this was Dawn Leppan, a nurse in the South African community of Valley of 1000 Hills. This area has been particularly hard hit by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Dawn was working in a tourist gift shop 4 days a week to make the money to run a clinic one day a week in order to serve her dying neighbors.

CompassioNow was born out of a desire to help community heroes like Dawn Leppan be more effective in providing healthcare services to those in need as well as support the establishment of new clinics where none currently exist.

CompassioNow currently partners with four African clinics: Village of Hope in Uganda, Mission Medic Air in Zambia, 1000 Hills in South Africa, and Tanzania Christian Clinic. In the past, we have partnered with Lily Medical Clinic in South Africa and Karero Medical Dispensary in Kenya. Though these partnerships, CompassioNow has worked to bring life-saving medical care to those with the greatest need: those suffering from poverty, malnutrition, and disease. Through the generous support of our sponsors, we are constantly striving to meet our goal of providing accessible medical care for the least served in Africa.

Recent Posts

  • 25-05-2012
    Medical Team Visits Rural Hospital
    MAMBILIMA MEDICAL MISSION TRIP - 26 APRIL 2012 – 29 APRIL 2012 REPORT BY NELLIE CHITAMBO The airplane is under maintenance so this trip was made using our land vehicle. It started as a normal trip when we left Ndola at 09.20hrs on Thursday morning. Unfortunately, the vehicle broke down partway to our destination. We had to rebuild the diesel pump and filter which delayed our arrival at the mission hospital significantly. We finally arrived in the early morning hours on Friday. We found one of the housekeepers waiting for us and found a meal that was meant for supper…
  • 03-10-2012
    Medical Supplies Delivered to Clinics in South Africa
    When Compassion Tea co-founders Chris and Jack Faherty wanted to plan a family vacation, they decided to make it a life-changing one for their two children, Julia and Liam. Instead of heading to a beach or Disney park, instead of hoofing it through an American historical sight or partaking of the grandeur of one of America’s great national parks, they chose a trip to South Africa. And when they left for their trip in late July, they took with them an extra 5 duffel bags. Each bag weighed 50 lbs. and was filled with medical supplies. The Fahertys delivered the…