In Loving Memory of Dr. Minhthu Nguyen

Following a courageous four-year battle against breast cancer, Dr. Minhthu Nguyen passed away on September 8, 2015 in the presence of her beloved family.

Minhthu’s family escaped war-torn Vietnam in April 1975, at the time of the fall of Saigon, on a military riverboat leaving from Cat Lai.  Her family eventually settled in Cleveland, Ohio where Minhthu was born on April 24, 1977, becoming the first American-born member of her family.

Life in the suburbs for Minhthu included being an active member of the Vietnamese Buddhist Temple, watching Ohio State football, travelling with family and friends, and going to amusement parks. She graduated from Brecksville High School, actively participating in many clubs and Flag Line while working at the Mr. Hero sandwich shop.  Minhthu attended The Ohio State University for both undergraduate and graduate studies, earning her Doctorate of Dental Surgery degree in 2003.  She followed her brother to Raleigh, North Carolina and became a business partner with her sister-in-law, Dr. Tran Nguyen, in 2004.

Minhthu utilized her skills and position at Gentle Family Dentistry to engage in substantial philanthropic work in the community.  She provided pro bono dental services for breast cancer patients because she felt a special connection to them and wanted to help improve their quality of life.  Recognizing UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s integral role in cancer research, Minhthu has contributed more than $100,000 to Dr. Charles Perou’s lab for his groundbreaking research on breast cancer.  She has sponsored numerous fundraising events on behalf of Fight for 1in9, including the annual Donation and Family Fun Day at Gentle Family Dentistry.

The fourth annual Donation Day was held on October 24, 2015 in Minhthu’s honor.  Thanks to an all volunteer staff Gentle Family Dentistry raised over $25,000.  This charity will provide financial assistance to breast cancer patients and their families.  More importantly, this day commemorated Minhthu’s kind and caring spirit, a person of humble beginnings who achieved great success, a fighter who did not allow cancer to define her or diminish her ability to travel, watch Buckeyes football, or spend time with family, friends and staff.

Minhthu will live on in our thoughts, hearts, and good deeds.  We will miss her presence but will not forget the impact she had on us, this community, and the world.