TORRANCE, Ca. – Two California siblings are fighting cancer together after doctors discovered brain tumors in both of them within two weeks of each other.
Kalea Avery, 6, was experiencing severe headaches for several weeks when it was discovered that she had a brain tumor known as Medulloblastoma.
While Kalea was hospitalized, her 4-year-old brother Noah started having similar symptoms. Doctors ran tests and gave the siblings’ parents news they never expected. Noah also had a brain tumor.
In the aftermath of the diagnoses, Duncan Avery, who is a coach in Redondo Beach and Nohea Avery, who is a nurse practitioner, have taken time off work to be with their children.
Both siblings underwent surgery to remove the tumors and are expected to undergo intensive chemotherapy and radiation therapy, according to a GoFundMe page set up for the family. The family is now taking the children’s recovery day by day.
“It was devastation with both kids, but when we found out about my son, we were just blown away that this could happen in the same family,” Duncan told KTLA.
“I don’t know how I’m going to get through this, but you do. You find a way,” Nohea Avery told KTLA. “You look at your children, you hold them and you just find a way.”
“We’ve learned in this process to embrace the smallest victories,” she added.
Oncologists, the children’s neurosurgeon and Kalea’s pediatrician at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach said they have never seen siblings who have been diagnosed with brain tumors so close together, the family said. Duncan Avery said doctors have told them that there have been instances of siblings being diagnosed with cancer years apart, but to their knowledge, they had not heard of two children diagnosed at the exact same time.
The family plans to go through genetic tests to get more answers.