STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Iranian man granted visa to donate bone marrow to brother in US

After almost two months, the US State Department approved a visa for an Iranian man to come to the United States in o...

Posted: Mar 31, 2018 12:36 PM
Updated: Mar 31, 2018 12:36 PM

After almost two months, the US State Department approved a visa for an Iranian man to come to the United States in order to have bone marrow transplant surgery to help his brother, who has cancer.

Naturalized US citizen Maziar Hashemi, 60, was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a type of blood cancer, in September. According to his doctors, the only treatment that can cure his cancer is a bone marrow transplant. His brother, Kamiar Hashemi, is a 100% bone marrow match to Maziar, but he lives in Iran.

Maziar Hashemi has a type of blood cancer curable only with a bone marrow transplant

His brother is a 100% match and will now be able to come to the US for surgery

Iran is one of eight countries subject to restrictions on their citizens entering the United States as part of a Trump administration policy implemented in December. Under this policy, people from Iran -- both immigrants and visitors -- are prevented from entering the United States unless they are students or scholars or have an exchange visitor visa. Iranians can still apply for visas, but many have been denied since the ban took effect, although waivers can be granted.

Kamiar was denied a visa when he applied at the US Embassy in Yerevan, Armenia, in February. After the initial refusal, he applied for a visa waiver so he could still travel to the United States for the surgery. The Hashemis had been stuck in limbo since then -- until Maziar received a phone call from his lawyer Wednesday.

Kamiar's visa was approved.

"We were extremely happy and couldn't believe when our attorney called and gave us the good news," said Fereshteh Doost, Maziar's wife. "I couldn't stop crying."

Maziar finished his fourth round of chemotherapy on the day he received the call about his brother's visa approval. The treatment was intended to extend his life until a bone marrow donor was found, but a transplant is the only thing that might be able to cure the cancer, according to a letter Maziar's doctor Zachariah Defilipp submitted with Kamiar's visa application.

"Tears, tears was the response to the news," Maziar said. "It was a cheerful moment. It was unbelievable."

Kamiar will travel to Armenia early next week to present his passport and get his visa. After that, he'll book a flight to Boston, according to Doost.

"My client is extremely relieved and pleased at the result and very thankful that the State Department took quick action," attorney Mahsa Khanbabai said.

Maziar's doctors had scheduled a bone marrow transplant surgery for April 27. If Kamiar's visa hadn't been approved, Maziar's son, Robert, who is only a 50% match, was going to donate his marrow.

One-hundred percent bone marrow matches are rare. Only 30% of patients find matching donors within their families, according to research compiled by the Institute of Justice. Defilipp, wrote, "A perfect match will provide the ability for a safe transplant as there is a higher likelihood that cells will not be recognized as foreign," in the letter he submitted with Kamiar's visa waiver application.

Maziar spoke with his brother Thursday morning to discuss travel plans.

"It was a wonderful thing that happened, and I am grateful for everything."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48524

Reported Deaths: 2698
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11682684
Lake5180242
Elkhart330146
Allen2798132
St. Joseph196466
Cass16389
Hamilton1563101
Hendricks1410100
Johnson1288118
Porter73237
Tippecanoe7268
Madison65964
Clark65544
Bartholomew58644
LaPorte58026
Howard57757
Kosciusko5494
Vanderburgh5486
Marshall4904
Noble48228
Jackson4723
LaGrange4709
Hancock45035
Boone44543
Delaware44550
Shelby42625
Floyd38144
Morgan32931
Monroe30028
Grant29526
Montgomery29420
Clinton2892
Henry27415
Dubois2736
White26510
Decatur25032
Lawrence24625
Dearborn23823
Vigo2358
Harrison21822
Warrick21829
Unassigned193193
Greene18932
Miami1832
Jennings17611
Putnam1698
DeKalb1624
Scott1627
Daviess14317
Wayne1406
Orange13623
Perry1299
Steuben1292
Franklin1248
Jasper1212
Ripley1177
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette997
Newton9810
Starke933
Whitley925
Gibson812
Huntington812
Randolph794
Wells731
Fulton721
Jefferson722
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey420
Brown391
Spencer381
Blackford372
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton321
Switzerland270
Parke230
Martin220
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 57956

Reported Deaths: 2927
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10410429
Cuyahoga7883373
Hamilton6019198
Lucas2752302
Marion273438
Pickaway219741
Summit2143206
Montgomery203427
Mahoning1832232
Butler159944
Columbiana130760
Stark1123112
Lorain103567
Trumbull96770
Warren86021
Clark7669
Delaware58215
Fairfield57216
Tuscarawas56710
Belmont54922
Medina52332
Lake50018
Licking49312
Miami46631
Portage44258
Ashtabula43544
Wood42851
Clermont4146
Geauga40742
Wayne36351
Richland3455
Allen32141
Mercer2829
Greene2589
Darke25125
Erie24422
Holmes2363
Huron2202
Madison1978
Ottawa14923
Sandusky13614
Crawford1355
Washington13520
Putnam12815
Ross1273
Hardin12312
Morrow1161
Coshocton1112
Auglaize1074
Monroe8917
Jefferson882
Union861
Muskingum831
Hancock791
Hocking788
Guernsey743
Preble731
Lawrence710
Williams712
Clinton680
Shelby684
Logan621
Fulton610
Ashland591
Athens591
Carroll593
Wyandot596
Brown571
Defiance513
Knox511
Fayette460
Highland451
Scioto410
Champaign401
Perry351
Van Wert350
Seneca342
Henry300
Paulding250
Adams241
Jackson230
Pike230
Vinton222
Gallia181
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 79°
Angola
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 79°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 79°
Decatur
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Van Wert
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Hot Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events