LONG BEACH, CA (KTLA/CNN) – Oncologists say they have never seen siblings who have been diagnosed with brain tumors so close to each other, following the diagnoses of a California brother and sister.
In a matter of weeks, life turned upside down for the Avery family of Torrance, CA, when both of their young children were diagnosed with brain tumors.
“I’ve said, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to get through this,’ but you do. You find a way. You look at your children and you hold them, and you just find a way,” said mother Nohea Avery.
Kalea Avery, 6, had been experiencing severe headaches for several weeks when it was discovered in June that she had a brain tumor known as medulloblastoma.
While Kalea was hospitalized, her 4-year-old brother, Noah Avery, started having similar symptoms. Doctors ran tests and gave the siblings’ parents news they never expected: Noah also had a brain tumor.
“It was devastation with both kids, but when we found out with my son, we were just blown away that this could happen in the same family,” said father Duncan Avery.
Both siblings underwent surgery to remove the tumors and are expected to undergo intensive chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
The family is now taking the children’s recovery day by day.
“We’ve learned in this process to embrace the smallest victories,” Nohea Avery said.
The family says they’re amazed by the outpouring of love they’ve received. A GoFundMe page set up for them has raised upwards of $140,000.
“Although we are the result of some bad luck – whatever you want to call it – maybe some good will come from this. Research is being done,” Nohea Avery said.
Doctors told the family 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 same time.
The family plans on going through genetic testing to get more answers.
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