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

07 December 2018
'Extremely rare blood' donations needed to save 2-year-old Florida girl

Zainab Mughal has a rare blood type and needs transfusions to help save her life after being diagnosed with neuroblastoma.

Must be exclusively of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent, meaning the donor's birth parents are both 100% Pakistani, Indian or Iranian.

While finding three donors is encouraging, "Zainab will need blood transfusions for the foreseeable future", OneBlood said, adding that it aims to find at least seven to 10 compatible donors.

While the blood won't cure Zainab's cancer, it will allow her to undergo two bone marrow transplants, which will make her stronger and allow doctors to give her higher doses of chemotherapy, Forbes said.

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

But statistically speaking, very few people have Indian B antigen missing from their blood, which makes finding a match virtually hard if not impossible.

Worldwide Donor Hunt to Help Girl with Rare Blood Type

OneBlood, which runs blood donor centers across the Southeast, is sharing Zainab's story in the hopes more people who meet the specific donor criteria will come forward to donate for the little girl. Because the antigen is so common, it makes it hard to find blood donors who are lacking it as well, Forbes said.

And even within these ethnic groups, fewer than 4% have the genetic variation. Narrowing the field further is the fact that donors would also need to be missing the "Indian B" antigen commonly found in blood, just like Zainab.

The non-profit blood donation organization OneBlood launched a campaign in a bid to find people who can donate blood to Zainab Mughal. As of now, three donors have been located, one of whom is from the United Kingdom.

"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", Bright said.

"What you're doing to save a human life, my daughter's life, is incredible", says Mughal.

In an effort to find donors, OneBlood is working with the American Rare Donor Program, a cooperative of the American Red Cross and the American Association of Blood Banks that operates a database of more than 80,000 rare donors in the U.S. The hunt has now turned global with OneBlood, a not-for-profit organisation that procures blood and blood products, joining in the search.