Global Search to Find Donor With Rare Blood Type for Toddler With Cancer

A toddler with cancer needs an extremely rare blood type.

A 2-year-old girl fighting cancer is the focus of a global search for a donor with an incredibly rare blood type.

Zainab Mughal has neuroblastoma, a rare affliction of the adrenal glands that affects children under the age of 5. The South Florida child will need several blood transfusions as her treatment continues.

A round-the-clock hunt is underway for blood donors. They must be exclusively of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent and their blood type must be O or A. The search is being coordinated by the nonprofit organization OneBlood and donations must be made through the group.

"My daughter, she is still a long way from being perfect," said Raheel Mughal. The girl was diagnosed a few weeks ago and doctors said the cancer may have been growing in her stomach for months.

The child's blood type is extremely rare because it is missing an antigen known as Indian B, which most people carrying in their red blood cells. A compatible donor must also be missing the crucial antigen. Otherwise, Zainab's body will reject the transfusion. 

"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," said Frieda Bright, a lab manager for OneBlood.

Zainab's family has expressed their gratitude for efforts to help her. 

"What you're doing to save a human life, my daughter's life, is amazing," her father 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."