who we are
This organization is named for the founders' grandson, Avery Harris, who was born with Microvillus Inclusion Disease. Both Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh have been instrumental in his care. This charity gives back by raising money for the families who find themselves at these hospitals and whose insurance doesn't come close to covering all of the expenses associated with rare GI diseases.
Avery was born September 7, 2014 in Hackettstown, NJ. After what seemed like a healthy delivery he became very sick and it took months to figure out the diagnosis. After several months at a local hospital he was transported to CHOP and they were able to save his life. The majority of Avery's first year was spent on the 5th floor with all the other GI patients. His family realized how many other kids and their families were suffering and wanted to try and make a difference.
Microvillus inclusion disease is very rare and has to be genetically inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. Symptoms develop shortly after birth and can lead to infancy death. It is characterized by an inability of the intestines to absorb nutrients. Without total dependence on parenternal nourishment, children would suffer from malnutrition, dehydration, and slow growth development. A recent long term option is organ transplants. Avery is currently waiting for a match for 3 organs.
There is no cure for Microvillus Inclusion Disease yet
Our little hero and inspiration
board of directors
Caryl Harris co-founded Avery's Hope with her husband Eric. Named for their beautiful, and beautifully rare, grandson. Avery's Hope's mission is to "pay it forward" to other families whose children have rare gastrointestinal diseases and find it challenging to cover all of the costs of medical tests, medication, and out of pocket expenses.
Caryl is a former member of RAM - Rare Advocacy Movement. RAM is a rare disease community leadership network founded on the premise of developing mutually beneficial collaborations between rare disease community leaders, influencers, experts and other rare disease stakeholders. Caryl is also a member of the National Organization for Rare Disorders and is a representative for Avery’s Hope with the EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases and the Rare Patient Alliance.
Caryl is a Bicycle Specialist for goHunterdon - Promoting Sustainable Transportation in Hunterdon County, NJ, previously worked for V5 Cycles in Flemington, NJ and a RUGD Patient Ambassador with Illumina, a Biotechnology company with its main office in La Jolla, California. Caryl is an avid cyclist, an artist, a wife, a mom to three amazing young men, a grandma, and "Ya Ya"; to an amazing young man battling Microvillus Inclusion Disease.
Parul Mehta has a background in Accounting, Finance, and IT and is working as a Senior Consultant for Analysis Prime where she manages software implementations. Parul is a graduate of Lehigh University with a B.S. in Accounting and Computer Science and holds an M.B.A. from New York University.
Being of service has been a central tenet in Parul’s life for the past 20 years, whether it’s mission trips abroad, volunteering and fundraising for local charities, or organizing community events, her focus is on taking care of others. She has volunteered with Avery’s Hope since 2018.
Parul lives in Monmouth Junction, NJ and enjoys traveling, cycling, kayaking, and paddle boarding
Carie Chester was born and raised in Central NJ. About 10 years ago, she relocated to New Hope, PA where she met Caryl and Eric! She currently resides in Lambertville, NJ with her beloved husband, Pete, and dog, Bubba. They are the light of her life.
Carie holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from Clemson University (Go Tigers!)
Carie joined the Association of Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) in 2005 and is responsible for the external development of Uniform CPA Examination items by a network of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). She manages the relationship, travel, and training to ensure the quality of the Exam is at the forefront of the process. She is also the operational lead for ADA accommodations for CPA Exam candidates. Ensuring everyone has an equal and fair testing experience is of great importance to her.
In her free time, Carie enjoys exploring her two river towns, traveling, working out, and spending as much time with friends and family as possible.
Tom has been involved with Avery's Hope since 2016, when he began volunteering, fundraising and training for the organization's first namesake century cycling ride. While training for his first 100 mile bike ride, Tom developed an intense love of cycling and realized the impact an organization like Avery's Hope can have on families with children living with rare diseases.
After his first century ride, Tom's involvement with Avery's Hope grew in 2017, when he officially took the position of member and Treasurer for the organization's founding Board of Directors. He brings experience as both a certified public accountant and a finance leader with over 20 years of experience in the life sciences industry.
Not only does Tom bring solid financial experience to the organization, he also brings a love of sport and serving others that training for the Avery's Hope ride helped foster in him. His passion and dedication are his driving forces in achieving the goals and carrying on the mission of Avery's Hope.
Eric Harris received his BS in Business Administration at SUNY Albany in 1979 and his MSW from Rutgers School of Social Work in 1981. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
Eric has been employed with Family and Community Services of Somerset County in various capacities since 1981. His titles included mental health and family clinician, Clinical Supervisor, Clinical Director and in 1994 he became Executive Director.
Eric has also spent the last 25 years coaching youth sports. He and his wife Caryl have been married for 33 years and have 3 adult sons and Avery is their first grandson.
Jake graduated from West Chester University in 2017 and decided to stay in the greater Philadelphia area.
He is currently working for a technology company - Phenom People.
Getting involved in Avery’s Hope was always a goal to try to help every family in need. Becoming a board member allows him to spread awareness and have a true impact within the community.
Elaine Huber, MD
Dr. Elaine Huber has been a board-certified OB/GYN for over 30 years. Her education, training and experience enable her to provide diagnosis and treatment of a full range of women’s health issues. With Dr. Huber, you’ll receive the kind of personalized, one-on-one care that only small practices can provide.
For the past 30+ years, she has taken pride in helping women feel healthy, happy and beautiful—inside and out. Many of her patients have trusted her with their medical care, and the care of their family members, for decades.
Helping women stay vital and strong to pursue the activities they love is one of the best parts of her job. Dr. Huber herself enjoys snowboarding, running, road and mountain biking, hiking and Pilates!
Lisa Jordan has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Speech-Language Pathology from Northeastern University.
When she moved to New Jersey she became involved with local and regional nonprofit organizations. She has held positions as development director, event manager and marketing specialist at The Stony Brook Millstone Watershed, The Women and AIDS Network and Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space.
Currently, she is a license New Jersey Realtor assisting her clients with buying and selling their homes in Central New Jersey.
She has been an Avery’s Hope Board Member at Large since its inception in 2016.
Lisa currently lives in Hopewell, New Jersey with her husband Daniel, two cats and a big white dog. She loves traveling with Daniel, hiking, bike riding and walking their dog Lilly.