The Avery Foundation announced Saturday during its third annual Founder’s Gala that it will expand its coverage area for cancer patients by five counties in 2020.

In addition to Dubuque, Clayton, Delaware and Jackson counties in Iowa, and Grant and Lafayette counties in Wisconsin, the organization that aims to alleviate some of the financial burden created by the cost of cancer treatments will add Jones, Linn, Buchanan, Black Hawk and Clinton counties in Iowa to its roster.

According to foundation officials, this will increase its coverage area from serving 214,000 to more than 445,000 and making the number of cancer cases benefiting from its services go from 1,315 to an estimated 2,470.

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The increase was made possible by the support of local donors.

It’s a leap in the right direction, said Ronald Avery, founder and president, who established the nonprofit organization in 2017 in honor of his late brother and sister, Jim and Julie, who both succumbed to cancer.

Among the areas it provides financial assistance is costs of travel, meals and lodging.

“We have been able to show growth several years ahead of our projections because of such great support from the tri-states,” Avery said. “The addition of a committed pledge from the global company MTX will allow us to reach out our arms of care further into Iowa. This, too, will be several years ahead of schedule. Our five-year plan has been changed to a two-year plan, and our 10-year plan into a five-year plan. We are blessed to live in a community that understands the importance of charity.

“A perfect example of how our community cares is that we have had 95 local businesses donate to the silent auction or live auction. We have 18 artists that have donated works to the live auction. And we have had 27 businesses sponsor a table for the Gala. What a community we are part of.”

The foundation will be seeking volunteers as district directors, fundraising staff and community awareness staff in the new counties. Those interested can email averyfndtn.ron@gmail.com.