Two-year-old Florida girl suffering from aggressive cancer in need of 'extremely rare' blood to save life
Potential donors will have to satisfy numerous conditions before donating, including having to be 100% of Pakistani, Iranian, or Indian descent
A two-year-old south Florida girl suffering from an aggressive form of cancer is in desperate need of extremely rare blood to save her life. Zainab Mughal is afflicted with neuroblastoma and requires blood transfusions and bone marrow transplants for treatment. However, her rare blood type — she's missing a common antigen called "Indian B" (Inb) in her blood — means any willing donor must also have the A or O blood type and also be missing the Inb antigen because her body will reject any other blood.
According to the Miami Herald, Zainab's parents got the devastating news that she was suffering from neuroblastoma — a cancer that most commonly affects children aged five or younger — two months ago. The fact that the two-year-old had a rare blood type complicated matters further.
One Blood, a nonprofit blood center has been leading an international search to find donors that would match the requisite blood type, with a press release from the organization listing out numerous conditions that need to be satisfied for Zainab to be able to accept the blood.
One of those conditions states that any donor must exclusively be of Pakistani, Indian, or Iranian descent — meaning that the donor's birth parents must be both 100% of those aforementioned nationalities. But One Blood says that even amongst those populations, less than four percent are missing the crucial Inb antigen like the two-year-old. Neither of Zainab's parents was a match for their daughter.
After more than 1,000 local and nationwide donations were tested, the nonprofit announced a piece of encouraging news. They said three matching donors had been located, one from the United Kingdom and two from the United States, the former of whom is reportedly their first-ever international donor.
But One Blood insisted additional donors would have to come forward as well because Zainab would be needing blood transfusions for the foreseeable future. They said in their press release that to support her long-term blood needs, they were looking for at least seven to ten compatible donors.
In a video posted on the organization's Facebook page, her father Raheel Mughal can be seen pleading for help. "It's not enough," he can be heard saying. "We need to find more... 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."
One Blood said it's sharing Zainab's story in the hope that those who meet the extremely specific donor criteria come forward to donate and that they're conducting compatibility testing on every possible donor. They also said all donors must coordinate with them in advance to ensure that the compatibility testing is performed.
Mughal also thanked those who had already come forward in the hope their donations could save his daughter. "What you're doing to save a human life, my daughter's life, is amazing," he said. "And once my daughter grows, I'm going to remind her, you know, that the effort was made for you in order to save your life."