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OneBlood Launches Global Donor Search For South Florida Girl With Rare Blood

Two-year-old Zainab Mughal has a cancer called neuroblastoma which develops from immature nerve cells found in several areas of the body. She's also missing a particular antigen in her blood, an anomaly only found in people from certain areas of the Middl
Family of Zanaib Mughal

A global search is on for rare blood that could save the life of a South Florida toddler who has cancer. Florida-based OneBlood says it’s specifically in need of donors of Middle Eastern descent. And even then, there’s less than a four percent chance of a match.

Two-year-old Zanaib  Mughal’s  blood is missing a particular antigen which most people have. It’s an anomaly only found in people from Pakistan, Iran and India.

"People from different counties have specific genetic backgrounds. And in order to find the blood compatible to her, we need to only, exclusively test donors from those regions of the world," says OneBlood Lab Director Nancy Benitez.

One Blood lab Manager Frieda Bright says it’s the first time she’s seen such a case in 20 years. Because the child’s needs are so unique, Bright says there's "a zero-percent chance of finding compatible blood for this girl if we look in any other ethnic group.” 

OneBlood says it needs between seven and 10 donors in order to help the child with her cancer treatments.

"The blood is not going to cure, but its needed to suppot her as she undergoes her treatments," says Bright.

So far, three donors have been found. One of them is in England. 

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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