South Florida

People answered call to help 2-year-old with rare blood type. But more blood is needed.

A call went out to help a toddler who is battling cancer and has a rare blood type and people answered.

Nearly a month after OneBlood, the nonprofit organization that handles blood donations, shared 2-year-old Zainab Mughal’s story, the organization said it’s up to four compatible donors but still needs more in the toddler’s battle with cancer.

According to OneBlood, “The response by the public to help Zainab has been unprecedented and is bringing heightened awareness to the need for a diverse blood supply.”

Zainab, whose family lives in Broward, was diagnosed a few months ago with neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that mainly affects children. As she is treated for the cancer, doctors say she will need blood transfusions, and thus more donors.

Because Zainab has a rare blood type — she is missing a common antigen that most people carry on their red blood cells, called “Indian B.” — finding a match is a challenge.

Potential donors must be Pakistani, Indian or Iranian — meaning the donor’s birth parents would have to be 100 percent Pakistani, Indian or Iranian — and must have a blood type of “O” or “A.”

After putting out a call round the world, labeling it an “all-hands-on-deck effort,” people responded.

The organization said they have received more than 22,000 emails from people who match the specific criteria needed to donate to Zainab. So far 2,200 units of blood have been tested, the organization says.

There are now four compatible blood donors, two from the United States and two from the United Kingdom. The organization is looking for at least three to six more donors so there is enough blood for Zainab’s cancer treatments and transfusions.

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

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