'Extremely rare blood' donations needed to save 2-year-old Florida girl

Zainab Mughal

As the search continues, the little girl's family is already expressing gratitude to all the people who have shown up with a desire to help Zainab in her battle with cancer. The other two matching donors are from the United States.

The child's red blood cells don't have an antigen called Indian B. So the donor should have O or A blood type with the same missing antigen. 'This was the worst thing we were expecting'.

Dr Bright further explained, "She's going to need to be completely supported by blood donations in order to survive the cancer treatment in order to kill this cancer".

Donors must be exclusively Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent.

Zainab's parents learned that she has high-risk neuroblastoma and the doctors think the tumor inside the child's belly may have been growing for at least 10 months.

OneBlood is said to be working closely with other blood centers and the American Rare Donor Program (ARDP), an organization that searches the world for rare blood donors.

It is most common in infants and children under age five, rarely occurring in older children.

The cancer can spread to tissues beyond the original site, including bone marrow, bone, lymph nodes, liver and skin. If Zainab gets a blood donation from someone who has the antigen, her body will reject it. Around 800 new cases are diagnosed in the USA every year.

Zainab Mughal
Image The child needs life-saving transfusions and bone marrow transplants

Statistically, donors need to be exclusively of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent.

Complicating the matter: She has a rare blood type and finding a match for life-saving transfusions is a huge challenge.

And even within this population, fewer than 4 percent of people are missing the antigen.

Both of Zainab's parents and several relatives were tested, but no one was a match.

"This is all hands on deck", Bright said in the video.

All donations for Zainab must be coordinated with OneBlood in advance to ensure the additional compatibility testing is performed. So far, three donors have been found.

While three donors have been found, OneBlood said they are looking for seven to 10 more compatible donors since the little girl will need blood transfusions for the foreseeable future.

"My daughter's life very much depends on the blood", Mughal said, describing the plea for help as a "humble request" from his heart.

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