Miami-Dade County

2-year-old with rare blood type battling cancer may get some help from a NY mom

Search on for rare blood-type to save toddler’s life

OneBlood has launched a worldwide search to find a match for a 2-year-old Miami girl who is fighting neuroblastoma and needs blood transfusions. Donors must be from Pakistan, India or Iran.
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OneBlood has launched a worldwide search to find a match for a 2-year-old Miami girl who is fighting neuroblastoma and needs blood transfusions. Donors must be from Pakistan, India or Iran.

Ahead of giving birth, a New York woman with a rare blood type donated her own blood in case she needed a transfusion during or after delivery.

Turns out she didn’t need it. And even better: It’s the same blood type of the Miami-Dade toddler, who is battling cancer and is in need of donors.

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Zainab Mughal, 2, is battling cancer and is in need of blood donors. OneBlood

On Sunday, OneBlood confirmed that the woman’s two units of blood were donated to help Zainab. The blood donation still needs approval from FDA.

“It’s wonderful to have the additional units for Zainab,” said Susan Forbes, senior vice president of marketing and communications for OneBlood.

The woman, whose name has not been released, is not officially considered a donor for Zainab yet because she is not yet eligible to donate after giving birth.

In early December, OneBlood put out a call for donors for Zainab, who had been diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that mainly affects children. The organization said the toddler, whose family is from Miami-Dade, would need blood transfusions to save her life.

The problem is Zainab is missing a common antigen that most people carry on their red blood cells, called “Indian B.” So finding compatible donors is not easy. 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.”

In all, four donors have been found for Zainab, two in the United States and two in the United Kingdom. Forbes said the goal is to get seven two 10 donors. Forbes said many more units of blood are being tested for compatibility.

Connie Westhoff, executive science director for the New York Blood Center, told the New York Daily News that the woman “generously allowed her rare units to be sent to Florida.”

“As diverse as New York is, we’ve only see three people with this blood type in the last 15 years,” Westhoff told the paper. “But since we are so diverse, the likelihood of finding a compatible donor in New York is the highest.”

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.

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