Sidney Vo did not want to tell the whole world she had hepatitis B, but in an effort to secure permanent residency in Australia and make sure her 12-year-old, who has grown up in the country can stay, she has gone public.
The federal government quietly changed the health requirements for visa applicants this year but, without ministerial intervention, Ms Vo, who in 2012 was a participant in an Australian hepatits B treatment trial, will be forced to return to Vietnam.
Even though her specialist has now told her she does not need to keep taking medication for hepatitis B, Ms Vo's application to become a permanent Australian resident was finalised and rejected before the rules changed.
Ms Vo came to Australia, supported by her aunt, in 2009 with her then husband when their son, Billy, was 18-months-old. She moved with Billy to Canberra three years ago to work in childcare after studying in Melbourne.
Ms Vo, who has been appearing on radio and television to draw attention to her case, said she was doing it to help Billy, who has no memory of Vietnam and would struggle to adapt to the country's school system.
"I was worrying about me having hepatitis B and being ashamed and ... anxious about people knowing ... but thinking about Billy going back to Vietnam is even worse than me being exposed ... in the public," she said.
"That's something that gives me more power to do this, just for my son."
Since telling her story publicly and revealing her health condition, Ms Vo said she could feel people passing judgement.
"I felt very ashamed; I felt worried, anxious. Before it came out, I was already worrying," she said.
"I don't want people, especially at childcare, like 100 families, they would just recognise me easily as being [a] person having hepatitis B.
"Not many people that understand about this. They would be just scared about the virus even though my virus is undetected. They don't know about that. They would just stay away from me and I just feel the sense of people around, I feel like [I am] indirectly discriminated [against]."
Ms Vo said more than 50 people had written letters of support on her behalf, including her childcare centre colleagues.
The Home Affairs Department does not comment on individual cases but, in an earlier statement, the department said the policy applied to undecided cases and new applications after July 1.
"It cannot be applied retrospectively to finalised visa applications," the department said.
Ms Vo said the government should show compassion and grant her a new visa.
"The minister, if they were in my situation, they would do the same thing [I have done]," she said.
Without further ministerial intervention, Ms Vo will need to leave Australia by September 30.
Billy, who is currently living with his father in Melbourne, would need to return to Vietnam at the end of the school year.