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Search for the rare blood type to save the lives of young children

The tumor inside Zainab Mughal's stomach may have developed for 10 months without anyone knowing. About two months ago, the…

The tumor inside Zainab Mughal’s stomach may have developed for 10 months without anyone knowing.

About two months ago, the 2-year-old parents got a devastating diagnosis – Zainab has neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that affects mainly children.

“We cried everyone.” Sa Zainab’s father told Raheel Mughal in a video. “This was the worst we were expecting.”

Complicates the case: She has a rare blood type and finding a match for life-saving transfusions is a big challenge.

“We must now provide more special blood for this child,” says Frieda Bright, reference laboratory director for OneBlood, in a video produced by the organization. “The possibility that we find a compatible donor for this little girl in the right ethnic group is less than 4 percent.”

This is because Zainab lacks a common antigen that most people carry on their red blood cells called “Indian B.” A genetic mutation caused the problem.

Zainab Mughal has a rare blood type and needs transfusions to save their lives after being diagnosed with neuroblastoma.

OneBlood

To be a match for Zainab, the donor must be Pakistani, Indian or Iranian – meaning the donor’s birth parents must be 100 percent Pakistani, Indian or Iranian – and must have blood type “O” or “A.” Donors must also coordinate with OneBlood, so their samples are tested for compatibility.

“These are all hands on the deck,” says Bright in the video. “We are looking for the world to try and find blood for this little girl.”

Her father told OneBlood that he, his wife and most of their families donated but were not a match.

So far three donors have been located – one of which lives in Britain. But OneBlood says that Zainab will need much more blood than three donors can give to fight cancer.

“It’s a humble request and I ask it from my heart,” Mughal said in the video. “My daughter’s life depends very much on the blood.”

For information about Zainab or how to donate visit www.oneblood.org/zainab.

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Faela