FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A worldwide hunt is currently underway to find a rare blood type to help a 2-year-old South Florida girl battling cancer.
Zainab suffers from Neuroblastoma, a cancer that develops from immature nerve cells around the adrenal glands and most commonly affects children 5 or younger. She currently receives treatment at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood.
First diagnosed with high-risk Neuroblastoma a few weeks ago, family and doctors believe it was growing in Zainab's stomach for at least 10 months.
OneBlood has orchestrated the search for Zainab as she will need numerous blood transfusions in the future. Officials with the organization said the search is running around the clock and it's a complete and total effort.
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Donors must be exclusively Pakistani, Indian, or Iranian descent, which means the donor's birth parents must both be 100 percent Pakistani, Indian or Iranian and the blood type must be "O" or "A."
Because of the requirements needed to be met, OneBlood decided to go worldwide with its search in hopes of finding seven to 10 donors to help over the course of Zainab's treatment. So far, at least three donors have been found -- two in the United Kingdom and one in the U.S.
"My daughter, she is still a long way away from being perfect," Raheel Mughal, Zainab's father, said.
Unfortunately, Zainab's parents are not compatible donors.
"The possibility of us finding a compatible donor for this little girl within the right ethnic group we want to screen is less than four percent," said Frieda Bright, OneBlood's reference laboratory manager.
According to OneBlood, Zainab's blood is extremely rare because it is missing an antigen, called "Indian B," that most people commonly carry in their red blood cells.
A good donor for Zainab would also be missing the Indian B antigen or she would reject the blood.
"She's going to need to be completely supported by blood donations in order to survive the cancer treatment in order to kill this cancer," Bright said.
While the fight continues, Zainab's family is already thanking those that are trying to help save the little girl and will always remind her who stepped up in her darkest hours
"What you're doing to save a human life, my daughter's life, is amazing," Mughal said. "And once my daughter grows, I'm going to remind her, you know, that the effort was made for you in order to save your life."