Recent fortunes have not been kind to the Avery family, living in Southern California. According to People, the two young girls born to father Duncan and mother Nohea Avery were diagnosed with brain tumors just two weeks apart.
Towards the end of May of this year, the older sibling, Kalea Avery, began complaining of worsening headaches. This prompted her parents to take her to see a neurologist following Memorial Day weekend. The results of the MRI showed that the 6-year old girl had a tumor forming near her brain stem. The tumor measured approximately 3.5 centimeters in diameter. The eldest sibling underwent surgery on June 11 to remove the tumor.
“We go from having a healthy baby girl who’s a skateboarder and a soccer player, who’s just loving life, to having a tumor removed from her brain,” Duncan Avery said of his young daughter when speaking to the Los Angeles Times.
Physicians soon found that the mass was indeed cancerous and diagnosed young Kalea with medulloblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer which forms at the base of the skull and can be spread to the spinal cord and other areas of the body. Due to the location of medulloblastoma, those suffering from the disease can often find their fine motor skills impacted negatively as well as their cognitive function as the cancer impairs these functions.
The family began the proper treatments immediately – but there was another bout of bad news on the horizon.
Two weeks following Kalea’s diagnosis, her 4-year old brother Noah began exhibiting strange behaviors as well. Sleeping more and more daily, and eventually complaining of a headache located between the eyes – the same location Kalea had targeted when assessing her pain — Noah then began to lean slightly as he walked. Rushing their son in for medical examination, scans from June 21 revealed a horrific truth.
Noah had a mass growing precisely where Kalea’s had been. Four days later, surgeons had extracted the tumor. While tests are pending, medical experts believe the tumor is medulloblastoma as well.
“We broke down in tears,” Mr. Avery, who coaches for Redondo Beach Union High School, told reporters at the Los AngelesTimes. “How could two kids in 14 days have the exact same tumor? How does that happen?”
“My heart literally felt like it was broke apart,” their mother Nohea, a nurse practitioner, told CBS. “It was being pulled out of my chest.”
We just got the news that Kalea can come home tomorrow for a few days before starting treatment at CHLA. Noah is recovering from surgery in the picu. He is becoming irritable and not wanting/ able to take his oral medication. We are hoping this is him being a stubborn four year old and not him developing posterior fossa. #fightlikenono #fightlikekalea #childhoodcancerawareness #medulloblastomaawareness
Noah and Kalea are both slated to begin radiation treatments with the possibility of chemotherapy. On a positive note, with aggressive treatment, there is a distinct possibility of a positive outcome, the prognosis for children fighting medulloblastoma being good at this point in time. Both siblings will also enter targeted therapy sessions to help in their recovery and coping while undergoing a very stressful life event.
“I don’t know how I’m going to get through this, but you do. You find a way,” Nohea told journalists with KTLA. “You look at your children, you hold them and you just find a way.”
A GoFundMe page for the two young children and their parents has raised nearly $120,000 of a $150,000 goal as of the writing of this article.