In 2008 Meghan Hall Rauen and Jared Rauen found out that their little boy would be born with gastroschisis. During Avery’s life, he not only provided them with hope and joy, there was an incredible rise in their community to support the little family through the process. From meals, to gas cards, prayers and thoughts to folks donating blood in solidarity for Avery’s fight. Even Avery’s team at UNC Chapel Hill NCCC was also heavily involved in educating and supporting Meghan and Jared during Avery’s time. There were angels around them the entire time. Avery stayed 107 days in the NICU- from April 14th 2009 and passed on July 30th 2009 unexpectedly from unforeseen complications. During this time the little family had many happy memories and a well-supported experience because of the tremendous efforts of their entire community.

At the time there was not a centralized organization for support or information. Inspired by the “angels” that had been present in their own experience and fueled by the hope that was Avery’s life, Meghan began blogging about forming a foundation to promote that community of support, education and awareness for others affected- providing the same angels they had, for others. With the encouragement of “Avery’s Angels” the team at UNC Chapel Hill, their family and community, Meghan launched Avery’s Angels September of 2009.

Between Meghan’s first blog post and Avery’s Angels acceptance as a registered 501c3 nonprofit on April 29, 2011, some amazing individuals came together and worked collaboratively to make the dream of a gastroschisis nonprofit possible. The initial core team was Meghan Hall Rauen, Herb Richter, June McDowall, Sheila Palus, and Kayte Thomas. The core team worked hard on planning, advocacy, legal work, and logistics to make the foundation possible. Added in soon after were Lea Krutel and Megan Turcotte who further contributed to the founding efforts. These passionate pioneers were all impacted by having a child in their family born with gastroschisis – a combination of parents, grandparents, and great grandparents who wanted to make the world a better place for others who were dealing with the same experiences. Each of them brought a unique perspective to the budding organization because of their specific outcome with gastroschisis; they brought with them the knowledge of life, death, short bowel syndrome, divorce, advocacy, heart break, and love beyond measure, amongst other things. It is to this committed group of people that the world owes gratitude for the existence of the first nonprofit in the world dedicated to supporting gastroschisis families.

To this day, we are founded on that initial cause of providing support to families as being our primary purpose, funding the needs of the cause above all else, and encouraging research to discover the causes and promote prevention

Avery’s Angels Gastroschisis Foundation has grown to 200 volunteers across multiple continents as of July 2014. We are all humbled and honoured to support gastroschisis families worldwide in any way we can.


Written by Kayte Thomas, MSW, LCSW-A. Medical Liaison 2010-2015
                                             With contribution from Meghan Hall Rauen