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Toddler with cancer in need of rare blood inspires worldwide search for donors



Two months ago, South Florida's father, Raheel Mughal, learned that a tumor grew in the stomach of his two-year-old daughter for nearly half of his life.

"We were all crying," Father said in a video about his toddler Zainab Mughal's battle with neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer. "That was the worst we expected."

But shortly after the diagnosis was made, Mughal and his wife faced a complication that would make their daughter's fight even harder.

Zainab's blood type is extremely rare, according to OneBlood, a Florida-based blood marketing center . Her parents and immediate family members allegedly do not have appropriate blood types. And Zainab will need blood transfusions for the duration of the cancer treatment.

In response to the Mughals' situation, OneBlood has launched a worldwide search for donors, hoping to find some perfect matches somewhere out there.

  Zainab Mughal is a two-year-old boy from South Florida who is fighting a neuroblastoma.


Courtesy of OneBlood

Zainab Mughal is a two-year-old boy from South Florida who is fighting neuroblastoma.

Frieda Bright, head of the OneBlood reference lab, said the search is an "all-in-one-on-deck" effort for the organization, which helps donate blood to more than 200 hospitals in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina.

"We are looking for the world to look for blood for this little girl," Bright said in a video. "It needs to be fully supported by blood donations to survive the cancer treatment to kill this cancer."

For donors to fit perfectly with Zainab, they must meet a number of specific criteria. The donor's parents must be both 100 percent native of Pakistan, India or Iran. The blood type of the donor must be either "O" or "A". And crucially, their red blood cells lack a common antigen called "Indian B".

Less than 4 percent of people with Pakistani, Indian or Iranian heritage lack the Indian B-antigen, according to OneBlood.

  Zainab Mughal requires blood donations from people of Pakistani, Indian, or Iranian descent whose red blood cells are missing


Courtesy of OneBlood

Zainab Mughal requires blood donations from people of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent whose red blood cells lack a specific antigen.

The organization said that two matched donors were based in the United States. The American Rare Donor Program, which seeks internationally for donors with rare blood, found another suitable donor in the UK.

But since Zainab will need blood transfusions throughout the treatment, OneBlood will try to find at least seven to ten donors.

According to OneBlood, more than 1,000 people of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian blood donated blood to see if they were a match for Zainab. These units have been tested, but so far the organization could not find any more matches.

Mosques in Florida have been donating blood to look for more matches. Imam Muhammad Musri, president of the Islamic Society in Central Florida, donated blood as part of his efforts and encouraged the members of his mosque to do the same.

"From a belief perspective, I say, prayer is not enough, prayer and thought are not enough," Mursi said in a OneBlood video. "God expects us to go on and give blood."

  OneBlood launched a worldwide search to find a match with Zainab Mughal's blood type.


Courtesy of OneBlood

OneBlood launched a worldwide search to find a match with Zainab Mughal's blood type.

Meanwhile, Zainab has received regular chemotherapy treatments, and the tumor appears to be shrinking to OneBlood. She will eventually need two bone marrow transplants.

"It's a modest request, and I heartily challenge it," Mughal said. "The life of my daughter depends heavily on the blood. So please donate the blood for my daughter. "


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