Garden Grove Woman Unable to Receive Stem Cell Transplant After US Government Denies Sister’s Visa

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A 61-year-old grandmother diagnosed with leukemia is fighting for her life after her sister, who is a perfect donor match and lives in Vietnam, was denied entry into the United States three times.

Helen Huynh is shown in an undated photo with her husband, daughters and grandchild.

Helen Huynh, of Garden Grove, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of  leukemia in February 2017.

Following the devastating news Huynh learned that her sister, Thuy Nguyen, was the perfect match for a stem cell transplant, according to her family.

With doctor's letters from UCI Medical Center in tow, Nguyen applied for a medical emergency visa. She was denied.

"We feel like we're just so close, yet so far," said Yvonne Murray, Huynh's daughter. "UCI wrote the letter that said that my aunt has no intention of staying past her visa. That she's planning on returning to Vietnam as soon as she's done with the stem cell transplant."

Helen Huynh is shown at UCI Medical Center in a 2017 family photo.

Huynh is a Vietnam native who moved to the U.S. in the 1990s and raised three daughters, one of whom suffers from down syndrome.

Huynh's sister, who owns several business in Vietnam and is raising a 5-year-old son in the country, applied twice more and interviewed three times at the American embassy in Ho Chi Minh City.

She was again denied entry, the family said.

The embassy stated in a letter that Nguyen hasn't provided enough evidence that she will "depart the U.S. at the end of her temporary stay."

Thuy Nguyen, pictured on the far right, is shown in an undated family photo.

"We have a match and the only thing that's preventing the stem cell transplant to take place is this visa," said Murray. "I don't know what else we could do. We're really stunned at what's going on."

"She is my mom's only hope," added Sharon Adams, Huynh's daughter. "It's kind of scary to lose someone that big in your life."

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for application fees and medical expenses.