LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — It’s a medical mystery that has a South Bay family puzzled. And understandably anxious.
Duncan and Nohea Avery’s 6-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son have been diagnosed with brain cancer.
The siblings were diagnosed within two weeks of each other.
CBS2’s Jo Kwon spoke with the parents.
“It’s amazing how in three weeks your entire life is just turned upside-down,” says Duncan.
It all started on Memorial Day weekend, when the couple’s 6-year-old, Kalea, felt sick.
“She threw up in the morning. And like most parents, you just think it’s a bug,” said Duncan.
But Kalea’s symptoms worsened. She started vomiting every morning paired with massive headaches. Two trips to the ER later, the couple found out Kalea had a brain tumor.
“It was devastating.” says Duncan.
Then the couple noticed their 4-year-old son, Noah, was walking a bit off.
“He was just leaning and tilting to the right, and then his headaches started the next day,” Duncan said.
On June 21, just 14 days after their daughter was diagnosed, doctors told Duncan and Nohea that Noah had a cancerous brain tumor as well.
“My heart literally felt like it was broke apart, and it was being pulled out of my chest,” says Nohea.
“There’s shock, there’s awe,” says Duncan.
But very little time to cry.
“Then you have to fight,” says Duncan.
“You take one look at your baby’s face, then you get back up again,” says Nohea.
Doctors told the family they didn’t think the cancer was caused by anything environmental. The family is expected to undergo genetic testing to search for a cause.
In the meantime, Kalea and Noan have both had surgeries to remove the tumors.
“My daughter is currently going under physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy,” says Nohea.
Just Wednesday, Kalea went down a slide for the first time since her surgery. Her brother is also responding well. For both kids, there is much more ahead.
“There’s good moments, and horrible moments,” says Nohea.
Her babies are fighting and still smiling.
“It gives us hope now,” says Nohea.
The kids now move on to radiation and possible chemotherapy. To help cover the costs, a friend of the family has set up a GoFundMe page.
For a link to the GoFundMe account, click here.