Yosef Krichli, a 54-year-old man of Georgian origin who suffered from leukemia, died on Thursday, after an Ezer Mizion bone marrow testing campaign was held around the country to save him and others of ethnic origins that are poorly represented in its national bone marrow registry.

Krichli died at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon following an eight-month struggle with leukemia but before a compatible match could be found.

Only about a 10th of people registered with Ezer Mizion’s data bank are of oriental or Ethiopian Jewish origin.

Dr. Bracha Zisser, bone marrow registry director at Ezer Mizion, said that the facility is a “matter of life and death. The premature and tragic death of Yosef Krichli shows how critical it is to undergo screening.”

It takes about a month to process data and find a match for would-be recipients of bone marrow, which could save their lives from blood cancer. Ezer Mizion’s voluntary special campaign sought Jews of Iraqi, Georgian, Bukharan, Yemenite, Caucasus, Kurd and Ethiopian origin.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – who is formally health minister – gave a saliva sample for determining tissue type and encouraged other Israelis to undergo screening and make donations to pay for processing. By 5 p.m., some 5,000 people underwent testing.

Unlike previous years, the state is donating money to help finance the bone marrow screening campaign, said MK Ze’ev Bielski, who has tabled a bill that would require the government to subsidize such campaigns.

The MK said he would like the tissue types of some 20,000 more Israelis to be added to the registry.

To donate money for processing, SMS the number 10 to 2255 or call 1-800-236-236.

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