Skip to content

About Us

This organization is named in honor and in celebration of the founders’ grandson, Avery Harris, who was born with Microvillus Inclusion Disease. In 2016 we had the first Avery’s Hope Charity Bicycle Ride. We thought that we would have a bike ride every year to raise money. Instead, we chose to get our 501(c)(3) status and we have grown to not only raise money, but to raise awareness and advocate on behalf of the rare pediatric GI patient community.

Meet Avery

Avery was born September 7, 2014 in Hackettstown, NJ. After what seemed like a healthy delivery it became clear that Avery was not thriving and needed medical help. After three months at a local hospital NICU he was transported to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where they were better able to manage his care. The majority of Avery’s first and second year of life was spent on the 5th floor at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with all the other GI patients. Avery’s grandparents realized how many other kids and their families were suffering, not only with their child’s illness but with all of the financial burdens as well, and they wanted to try and make a difference. Avery’s Hope was born.

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. Fortunately, Avery is currently not in need of transplantation and is doing well. Hope!

Meet Our Team

Screenshot_20221120-153813

Caryl Harris

Co-Founder &
Executive Director

Caryl Harris co-founded Avery’s Hope with her husband Eric. Named for their beautiful, and beautifully rare, grandson.

Caryl holds an M.A. in English Literature from Rutgers University and has an A.B.A. from the Department of Education.

Caryl is 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 Global Genes Rare Patient Alliance. She serves on the Patient Senate for Patients Rising Now. Caryl is also a Founding Member of WRAP – Worldwide Rare Advocacy Partnership. 

Caryl is an avid cyclist, an artist, a wife, a mom to three amazing young men, and “Ya Ya” to 4 grandsons. 

Lisa Jordan

Founding Member & Board President

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. Lisa 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 licensed New Jersey Realtor assisting her clients with buying and selling their homes in Central New Jersey.

Lisa has been an Avery’s Hope Board Member since its inception in 2017.

She currently lives in Hopewell, NJ with her husband Daniel, two cats and a big white dog. Lisa loves traveling, hiking, bike riding and walking their dog Lilly.

Eric Harris

Co-Founder, Vice President & Avery's Pop Pop

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.

Parul

Parul Mehta

Secretary

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.

James-1

James Dunn

Treasurer

James was born and raised in southern New Jersey, moved to NYC for 25 years, and recently relocated to Stockton, New Jersey in 2017. During his time in NYC, he and his husband, Sam, had a weekend home in New Hope, Pennsylvania. During their visits to New Hope, they met and became friends with Caryl and Eric Harris. Caryl was the one who helped train and coach James and Sam for their first charity bike ride from Boston to NYC in 2014 for Housing Works.

Before retiring in 2017, James was the founder and CEO of Amici Accessories Ltd., established in 1997. 

sam

Sam Chung

Board Member

Sam is an Associate Psychometrician at the Association of Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) and is responsible for data analyses, test assemblies, and test assembly research for the CPA Exam.

Her passion to become a doer and contribute more to the community is a motivation to get involved in Avery’s Hope.  Sam grew up in Seoul, South Korea, and came to the United States to pursue her master’s degree in Michigan. She currently lives in East Bay, California and enjoys watching her kids’ soccer games and hiking in the beautiful sceneries of Northern California in her free time.

Robert Fasinski

Board Member

Bob has been active in local organizations for much of his life. He has coached recreation sports in his community. He was a financial manager of multiple local political campaign committees in Readington Twp. He was a Flemington Falcons Pop Warner football coach for 10 years. Bob managed the Hattie Fasinski Scholarship Fund, established in his mother’s name that annually awarded a scholarship to a graduating Watchung Hills Regional High School senior who resided in Green Brook.

He has been a volunteer at Flemington Area Food Pantry since 2018 and he has volunteered and participated in Avery’s Hope fundraising events.

Bob has two adult children and two adult step children (maybe grandchildren soon??).  He loves to ride his bike, especially on trails, play golf, enjoy live music performances and cook for family and friends

Edited 2

Anthony Damato

Board Member

Anthony Damato is a financial analyst at diagnostics company QuidelOrtho supporting the R&D function, new ideas, and innovations. He was born in NJ where he lived most of his life before receiving his bachelor’s degree in Finance from Penn State University.
There he has participated in student-run philanthropy, THON, and was part of an organization supporting families through raising money, and helping spread awareness.

Currently, he resides in Philadelphia where he spends a lot of time with friends going to see concerts, playing guitar, golfing in the summertime, and traveling out west to snowboard in the winter.

Daniel Jordan

Board Member

Dan is a senior executive for Safari Energy, a clean energy company with services across the US.  He is passionate about the environment and has worked in the clean energy sector for over 20 years.  He is a licensed engineer and has a background in finance and accounting.  He serves as a PADI Divemaster teaching Scuba students, mentoring divers and safely leading dive tours.  He is also an avid cyclist and former racer who participates in many charity rides including Avery’s Hope fundraising events.

Working in underdeveloped nations, Dan has seen what it is like to not have access to health care, and is aware that good healthcare, like good health, is not something to take for granted.  Thus his passion to serve on the Board of Avery’s Hope and continue serving the health and well-being of others.

Wendy Kennedy

Board Member

Wendy empowers her clients as a Holistic Occupational Therapist and Functional Nutrition Counselor to take more control of their health.

By working in partnership with clients, Wendy assesses challenges through exploring their history, physiology and both internal/external environments. Addressing health and independence in this holistic way allows for bio-individual wellness plans that yield compliance and results. She believes that food CAN be medicine, but only when the body is functioning optimally.

By addressing underlying imbalances, supporting health foundations and optimizing digestion, distressing symptoms and conditions can be better controlled. Clients seen include people with chronic/autoimmune conditions, hormone imbalances, inflammatory conditions, skin problems, insomnia, GI challenges, chronic pain, etc.,

 

 

e RGP_4289 (1)

Dr. Marion Mass

Medical Advisor

Dr Marion Mass graduated from Duke University Medical School, trained at Northwestern’s Robert Lurie Hospital in pediatrics and has worked as a pediatrician in suburban Philadelphia for 24 years serving in the hospital, newborn unit, emergency room, primary care, and urgent care settings.

She is the co-founder of the non-partisan Practicing Physicians Of America and leadership in the Free2care coalition. She is the first author of the Free2Care position paper on reducing cost and waste in American Healthcare Free2Care is 34 member groups, consisting of 8 million Americans, 70,000 are physicians. She is a visiting Fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.

She has organized and led two bipartisan symposiums at the Library of Congress regarding lowering healthcare cost and improving access and advises multiple lawmakers on how to do the same.

She has written numerous opinion pieces on cost and access in multiple outlets including The WSJ, Real Clear Health, Philly Inquirer, The Hill, the New York Post, Philly Burbs and more.

In her community, she serves on the board of the Bucks County Health Improvement Partnership, and served for 7 years on the Editorial Board of the Bucks County Courier Times. When her children were in school, she served on Wellness councils in the Central Bucks School system.

Solar Power
Wind
Water
+ 0 %
Efficiency
50 %
Less consumption