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Family of rare blood type overwhelmed by support

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By Meghan Holohan

Almost shortly after Zainab Mughal learned to go, she began to run. She had to continue with her three older brothers and cousins. If they were to jump from couch to couch, the girl followed. While she loved tumbling and wrestling with her brothers, she was also sweet, always listening to her parents and always reading to give a hug.

But everything changed when she was about 20 months old.

“She became a little more stubborn. She started eating less,” told her father, Raheel Mughal, today. “She would not play with other children.”

People around the world offer donating blood to help Zainab Mughal, which has a rare blood type, and her family feel grateful for the overwhelming support. Oneblood

Mughal’s wife, Mariam Mehmood, was concerned that this change meant something was wrong with Zainab. They went to the doctor who calmed down those who sometimes change their appetite about 2 years old. The family relaxed a bit, but still wondered if something was crazy.

“She lost her weight. She was not active. She does not want to play,” said Mehmood today. “I thought something went wrong inside.”

After some tests, Mughals learned some amazing news: Zainab has neuroblastoma, a cancer that develops along sympathetic nerves, often in the abdomen or torso of children.

“We were completely destroyed,” said Mughal. “We started crying.”

When a doctor gave Zainab a blood transfusion as part of her treatment, it went awfully wrong. Her eyes and hands became swollen and she had a fever. She started scratching herself and complaining of itching. That’s when the doctor did another discovery: Zainab lacks an antigen in her blood, Indian B, and she needs blood from donors who have the same mutation, or she will get sick.

“Not only are you cancer but blood issue,” said Mughal. “It was just incredible.”

Less than 4 percent of the tested donors lack this antigen, according to OneBlood, an ideal company providing blood products to hospitals in Florida, parts of Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina. Only people who are 100 percent Pakistani, Indian or Iranian carry this mutation and can help Zainab. After her first blood transfusion led to a bad reaction, OneBlood has helped to find blood for Zainab.

After raising awareness of Zainab’s health crisis, people around the world have contacted OneBlood to help her.

“So far, we have identified three (persons), two donors in the United States and a donor identified in the United Kingdom,” said Frieda Bright, Immunogimetology Reference Lab Manager at OneBlood.

Ideally, they would like to have about 10 donors to deliver the blood that Zainab needs during their cancer treatment.

“Zainab is going through a treatment that will eventually be fully charged with blood products,” Bright explained.

Donors can donate blood every 56 days and blood stays well for about 35 days. Therefore, it is important to have stable stable donors to Zainab.

“She’s ready to go through the next step in her treatment,” Bright said. “We must be prepared to support her with blood.”

The mughals feel overwhelmed by the support.

“I just want to say, thank you,” said Mehmood. “No one can feel our pain.”

Mughal agrees and already said that they see a change in their daughter.

“She plays. She talks and everything and when it felt, OK, she gets better, he says.” She means everything to us and she is the princess of the family. Everybody loves her. “

If you live within OneBlood’s service area, enter your zip code on this page to find your donation center. When you go to the OneBlood Center, be sure to provide for staff you will donate to Zainab then that they can mark your donation for testing.

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