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Mother’s Prayers Answered : Reunion: Suffering from an inoperable brain tumor, she sees her children for the first time since leaving Romania 2 years ago.

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

Florentina Mangu shuddered from fear after the first day of radiation therapy Friday, but when her children appeared in the doorway of her hospital room, the shaking stopped.

And the tears began.

Less than one week after Mangu, suffering from an inoperable brain tumor, sent an urgent plea to help find a way to bring her children from Romania, they arrived--for a family reunion after two years apart.

People across Los Angeles sent donations totaling more than $2,500 to help pay for the airline tickets to bring Cristina, 18, and Adrian, 15, to see their mother. In the end, an anonymous donor with frequent flyer miles gave them the tickets.

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Florentina, 43, a deeply religious woman, thanked God for providing her what she says is a miracle.

She and her husband, Florine, 46, left their children in Bucharest when they came to the United States two years ago in search of a better life. They worked to establish a home and obtain permission to bring their children here when Florentina was diagnosed.

On Thursday evening, Florine waited anxiously at Los Angeles International Airport. His brother, sister-in-law and other relatives and friends went with him, clutching flowers, balloons and their faith.

It was such a scene, one passerby asked: ‘What’s going on? Where’s the star?’ Cristina said.

When the children arrived at Hillhaven Health Care Center in Van Nuys, Florentina was overcome.

She embraced both her children, and wiped tears from her son’s eyes. The family spent several minutes hugging, weeping and praying together.

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Then Florentina marveled at how her children had grown.

“When I left, my son he was shorter than his father,” she said. “Now he is taller than Florine.”

Cristina has grown to become a beautiful young woman who likes to read and write poetry, her mother said proudly.

“I told you they were very beautiful,” Florentina said.

The children brought with them a lucky charm, which they hung around their mother’s neck. The charm was a dried plant that has been dipped in tea every morning for good luck, and the family has faith that the charm and the prayer will work a miracle.

The radiation treatment, the first of 12 sessions, began Friday, and left Florentina so tired she could not take part in daily physical therapy sessions.

She also cannot move her legs and is losing feeling in the fingers of her left hand.

But every time Florentina started to worry, Cristina looked at her, placed her finger across her lips, and told her mother that everything would be all right.

“The doctor, he told me I could become tired and lose my appetite (from the treatment), but not so quickly,” she said. “I have such a headache,” she added, her voice trailing off.

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The family is now eager for Florentina to complete the radiation treatments so she can return to her home in Van Nuys and spend time with her family. Cristina and Adrian have six-month visas, which the family hopes to have extended as needed.

Her husband took her to Universal City for her birthday last year, but Florentina said she cried because her children were so far away.

This year, they will go as a family, Florine said.

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