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Shirman Dies After Leukemia Battle

Michael Shirman, the Soviet emigre with leukemia whose sister’s departure from the Soviet Union to donate her bone marrow to him was delayed for a year, died last Thursday in Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot.

Born near Minsk in 1954, he came to Israel with his mother in 1980. He was found to be suffering from leukemia 18 months ago, and it was established that his sister, Inessa Flerova of Moscow, was the only possible compatible donor of bone marrow. The marrow transplant perhaps could have saved him if performed early enough.

But Soviet authorities rejected her and her husband’s application for an exit permit for more than a year. She sometimes was told she could leave alone. Shirman declared he would not allow it.

Finally the Flerovs were allowed to leave together, and the transplant took place, successfully, two-and-a-half months ago. But doctors expressed concern even then that it might have been too late to cure him or cause a meaningful remission of the cancer of the blood.

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