Florida family makes plea in worldwide search for extremely rare blood to save toddler's life

- The search for extremely rare blood continues as a South Florida family continues to plea for donors to save their little girl.

The 2-year-old girl, Zainab, suffers from neuroblastoma, a cancer that affects nerve cells near the adrenal glands. It’s considered to be an aggressive form of cancer.

“When they did the ultrasound, they found an almost 10 cm mass inside of her,” said Mariam Mehmood, Zainab’s mother. She tells WSVN she discovered the large mass in her daughter’s abdomen, and rushed her to the hospital. That’s where she learned Zainab had neuroblastoma.

“It was completely heartbreaking,” Zainab’s father, Raheel Mughal, explained to WSVN. “We never thought she would have anything like that.”

Zainab needs chemotherapy for treatment, and to survive she needs a blood transfusion with one of the rarest blood types in the world. 

“It’s discovered she is lacking an antigen that most people have,” explained said Susan Forbes with OneBlood, "and because she’s lacking it, she needs blood from people who are also lacking it, and that the Indian B antigen.”

OneBlood has been busy testing blood and searching globally for donors, but it hasn’t been easy.

“The only people who are likely to missing that antigen are people who are Indian, Iranian, or Pakistani descent,” Forbes said. “Of those populations, only 4 percent are likely to be missing the Indian B antigen.”

OneBlood is hoping to find 7-10 donors to help throughout Zainab’s intense treatment. The blood may not cure her, but it would give her a fighting chance.

“She is getting better,” Mariam said, “and that is why we are getting better. We are hoping every day and we have very strong faith that she will make it.”

OneBlood said they are working with other blood centers across the country, and the American Rare Donor Program, which searches the world for blood donors. 

To be a match for Zainab, OneBlood says the following must be met:
- Must be exclusively Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent – meaning the donor’s birth parents are both 100% Pakistani, Indian or Iranian  
- Must be blood type “O” or “A”
- All donations for Zainab must be coordinated with OneBlood in advance to ensure the additional compatibility testing is performed.

If you believe you can be a match or save this little girl’s life, head to OneBlood’s web page dedicated the search for Zainab’s rare blood type

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