Parents of 2-year-old Zainab are desperately searching the world for donors of an extremely rare type of blood in an effort to save their daughter’s life with life-saving cancer treatment.
The blood-type is so rare that less than 4 percent of people on the planet carry it, ABC News reports.
The organization leading the search for the blood donors, OneBlood, said they have received a “tremendous response” from people around the world and were even able to secure some matches.
According to the report, OneBlood received 12,000 emails alone since Monday when Zainab’s story was made public.
Susan Forbes, vice president of marketing and communications for OneBlood, said: “The world is really rallying around this little girl to try and find some compatible blood for her.”
Before Zainab Mughal’s story was made public, the family held local blood drives near their home in Miami in an effort to find a match, Forbes said. When no matches turned up, the team decided to “cast a wider net,” Forbes said.
Zainab, who was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma about two months ago, is missing a common antigen in her red blood cells known as Indian-B, her parents, Raheel Mughal and Mariam Mehmood, said in an interview Thursday. Because the antigen is so common, it’s difficult to find blood donors who don’t have it, Forbes said.
— Advertisement —
In addition, the donor will need to be of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent, and have blood types “O” or “A” to be a match, Forbes said. No one in Zainab’s immediate and extended family has been a match.
When the 2-year-old was initially diagnosed, doctors did not have any transfusions for her rare blood type available, ABC News reports.
Despite the huge reaction to Zainab’s story, the family is still in need of donors who match their daughter’s blood-type. They are also seeking donors for two bone marrow transplants which the 2-year-old will have to undergo in the cancer treatment process.
So far, OneBlood has located three matches, including one in the United Kingdom near London, with the help of the American Rare Donor Program, Forbes said. All three have since sent units of blood to the Miami area, where the family lives, Forbes said.
But it’s still not enough, Zainab’s parents said. Zainab will need about seven to 10 donors who can stagger blood donations for the course of her treatment, Forbes said.
Zainab will also have to undergo two bone marrow transplants because her cancer has spread to her bone marrow, the family said. The transplants will make her stronger and allow doctors to give her higher doses of chemotherapy, Forbes said, but they currently only have enough units for one surgery. Without a second surgery, Zainab will have a higher chance of relapsing, her father said.
The family is optimistic and says they have “strong faith” their daughter will survive the treatment, remaining upbeat and smiling.