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, 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."
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."
"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.