Last May, when six-year-old Kalea Avery threw up one morning, her parents assured her she just had a stomach bug.
But the vomiting continued and she began complaining of headaches, so her mother took her to the emergency room near their home in Torrance, California.
Doctors delivered a diagnosis the family had never anticipated: a rare, cancerous tumor growing at the back portion of Kalea's brain.
After Kalea was admitted to the hospital so surgeons could remove the tumor, her five-year-old brother Noah started experiencing similar symptoms.
An MRI was performed and it revealed that Noah had the same tumor growing in the same area of his brain as his sister.
Doctors are absolutely stunned by what they describe as 'lightning striking twice' and believe the siblings may have a genetic condition that predisposes them to have brain cancer.
Kalea Avery (right) and her brother Noah (left), of Torrance, California, were diagnosed with the same brain cancer just two weeks apart.
In May, Kalea began vomiting, which was soon coupled with headaches. A few weeks later she was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor known as medulloblastoma. Pictured, left and right: Dad Duncan, Mom Nohea, six-year-old Kalea and five-year-old Noah
The siblings' father, Duncan, told The Los Angeles Times that when Noah first started saying his head hurt, he and his wife thought he was copying his older sister.
But then his gait started being off balance, he vomited in the mornings and his headaches lasted for days.
In June 21, exactly two weeks after Kalea was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, Noah received the same diagnosis.
Medulloblastoma is a fast-growing, high-grade tumor.
It accounts for two percent of all primary brain tumors and 18 percent of all malignant pediatric brain tumors.
Approximately 70 percent of all cases occur in children under age 10.
Signs and symptoms:Appetite changes Behavioral changes Increased pressure on the brain (i.e., headache, nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness, as well as problems with coordination) Unusual eye movements
Treatment consists of surgical removal of the tumor followed by radiation, and then chemotherapy
Five-year survival rate, or what percent of children live at least five years after the cancer is found:Average-risk disease: 70% - 80% High-risk disease: 60% - 65% Infants with localized disease: 30% - 50%
Source: American Brain Tumor Association
'[My wife and I] broke down in tears,' Duncan told the newspaper. 'How could two kids in 14 days have the exact same tumor? How does that happen?'
Medulloblastoma is a fast-growing and high-grade