A worldwide search is now underway for donors with a rare blood type that may help a young cancer patient in South Florida.

Neuroblastoma

Zainab Mughal, 2, has neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer that more often affects children. Doctors most often diagnose the condition in children younger than the age of 5 years.

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.

Neuroblastoma in the abdomen may cause stomach pain or the constant feeling of being full that can lead to weight loss, swelling or lumps in the belly, a problem with bowel movements and swelling in the legs or in the scrotum.

Zainab is being treated at the Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood and she is required to undergo multiple blood transfusions in the future. The girl needs to be completely supported by blood donations so she can survive the treatment that is needed to kill cancer.

Rare Blood Type

The problem is that Zainab has a rare blood type. Zainab does not have the common Indian B antigen that most people have in their red blood cells due to a genetic mutation. This makes finding a match for her life-saving transfusions difficult.

To help the child in her fight against cancer, the non-profit blood donation organization OneBlood launched a campaign dedicated to finding people with the right blood type who can donate blood for Zainab.

“We now have to provide more specialty matched blood for this child,” said OneBlood reference laboratory manager Frieda Bright. “The possibility of us finding a compatible donor for this little girl within the right ethnic group is less than 4 percent.”

Ideal Blood Donors

Three donors have so far been located but Zainab will need more blood than they can provide. The donors need to be a Pakistani, Indian or Iranian, which means that their biological parents would be 100 percent Pakistani, Indian or Iranian.

They also need to have a blood type of either “A” or “O”. The blood donors should be missing the Indian B antigen as well or Zainab would reject the blood.

Blood samples of potential donors will be tested by OneBlood for compatibility.

“All donations for Zainab must be coordinated with OneBlood in advance to ensure the additional compatibility testing is performed,” OneBlood said.

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