Trinh Phan, 33, who last month was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, will be reunited with her mother, Nguyen Thi Hoa, in the coming days, the family said late Tuesday. Hoa, who lives in Vietnam, has been approved for a temporary visa after immigration officials initially denied the request.
Trinh Phan, of San Jose, pictured with her husband, Young Nguyen and their son, David, who is now 8.
It’s unclear when Hoa will land in San Jose, but the family expects her to make the trip as soon as possible in order to see her daughter one last time. The family intends to keep the reunion private.
Hoa’s request for a visa was at first denied by the U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Vietnam because immigration officials feared the woman would stay in the U.S. for good, according to the family.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s office worked with the consulate and the U.S. State Department to revisit Hoa’s case. The family also started a petition online calling on the consulate and President Donald Trump to issue Hoa a visa
Lofgren received word early Wednesday morning that the visa had been approved.
“I was so relieved,” Lofgren said. “The idea that this young woman is terminal. It’s such a tragic situation. And her last wish was such a human one: to want to see her mother. At least now that will be fulfilled.”
Phan — who immigrated to the U.S. from Vietnam in 2003 and lives in San Jose — last saw her mother in 2012. Aside from her husband and son, she has only one other family member in the U.S., a cousin in Dallas.
The family’s plight gained media attention after a story by this newspaper Tuesday.
Phan — who’s married to Young Nguyen and has an 8-year-old son, David — became a “proud” U.S. citizen in 2010, according to family. She has been diagnosed with metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer and acute respiratory distress syndrome, a rapidly progressive disease seen in critically ill patients, according to the American Lung Association. The main complication resulting from this condition is fluid leaking into the lungs, making breathing “difficult or impossible,” according to the lung association.
Phan, a nonsmoker, is in the ICU at O’Connor Hospital in San Jose, where she has lost about 25 pounds and is fully dependent on oxygen, Nguyen said. She’s been given no more than a few months to live.