DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- A Dubuque man is helping cancer patients worry a little less so they can focus more on getting better.
Ron Avery's book '365 Days for Hope' offers inspiration for cancer patients. (Charlie Grant, KCRG-TV9)
Ron Avery provides financial assistance to cancer patients and their families through his organization, Avery Foundation.
Avery started the foundation because of the impact cancer has had on his life; six out of 10 of his family members have had the disease. He watched his mom go back and forth to appointments with his sister Julie, who died from cancer in 1982, and says it's that experience that inspired him to start the Avery Foundation.
"Ninety nine cents out of every dollar we raise stays right here in the Tri-States and goes directly to cancer patients that are going through treatments to help with their expenses," Avery explained. "We had successful fundraising last year, and we were able to give our first grant check out in December right before Christmas."
He's starting a new approach to fundraising, while also inspiring people battling cancer. He wrote a book titled, '365 Days for Hope,' which is filled with quotes to help people get through their battle.
"There’s those days you wake up, you’re sick, you’re throwing up from chemo, you don’t want to get out of bed, and this just sort of helps you through days like that," he said.
The book costs $17.99 and can be found in Dubuque at the River Lights Bookstore or the Mercy or Finley hospitals. People can also order it online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Avery hopes proceeds will continue to fund his mission to help people in Dubuque.
Pam and Fred Hardtke are two people the foundation has benefited. Fred had a rare form of cancer that kept him in Mayo Clinic for 10 months. His wife Pam quit her job to stay around the hospital, which created a financial strain.
She said she got creative to save money. "You figure out how to park your car where you don’t have to pay as much, you just figure out how to do your meals, and I tried to stay as close to the hospital in walking distance too," she explained.
A few months into her husband's treatment, a friend told her about the Avery Foundation. She was able to get a grant and is very thankful to Avery.
"He was so kind and he cut me a check and I was just like God, thank you. It was such a God sent, it really was," she said.
Now Fred is in remission and things are looking great. They look forward to getting back to their old normal and thanking the Avery Foundation for the generosity.
"It was just a long journey, it really was," Pam said.
Avery hopes people buy his book and support the foundation so he can help more people like the Hardtkes.
He said, "I wanna be a rainbow in cancer patients’ stormy clouds. And that’s sort of what we want to do with the book, what we want to do with our foundation."
To learn more about the Avery Foundation visit their website. Upcoming fundraising events are on August 18, September 8 and September 18.