ORLANDO, FL — A global search is underway for a rare blood type to help a Florida toddler who is battling what medical experts described as a very aggressive form of cancer. The child, identified as two-year-old Zainab of South Florida, suffers from neuroblastoma.
OneBlood, a local not-for-profit blood center serving Florida and other parts of the southeast, issued an urgent appeal on Monday to find donors with Zainab’s blood type.
“Zainab’s blood is extremely rare because she is missing a common antigen that most people carry on their red blood cells,” according to organization officials. “The antigen is called ‘Indian B'(Inb).”
Zainab’s father, Raheel Mughal, said his daughter needs blood to survive.
“I encourage everyone to please go out and donate the blood,” he said. “It’s a humble request and I request it from my heart. My daughter’s life very much depends on the blood. So please, donate the blood for my daughter.”
The search is complicated by genetics, according to medical experts.
“For a person to be a possible match for Zainab, they must also be missing the Indian B antigen, or the little girl’s body will reject the blood,” said OneBlood officials. “Statistically, the only people who are likely to be a match for Zainab are people of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent. Of these populations, less than 4 percent of the people are actually missing the Indian B antigen.”
OneBlood reported that three potential donors have been identified, including one near London.
“It’s the first time OneBlood has ever received an international donor for a local patient,” organization officials said. “The other two matching donors are from the United States.”
To be a match for Zainab a donor must meet the following criteria:
Must be exclusively Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent – meaning the donor’s birth parents are both 100 percent Pakistani, Indian or Iranian.
Must be blood type “O” or “A.”
Click here for donation information.