Wanted: 'Extremely Rare Blood' for Sick Toddler

Donors for Florida girl need 'O' or 'A' blood type, with parents 100% Pakistani, Iranian, or Indian
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2018 9:07 AM CST
Updated Dec 8, 2018 6:30 AM CST
Can Your Rare Blood Save This Toddler With Cancer?
Is your blood a match for little Zainab?   (Getty Images/toeytoey2530)

A toddler in Florida has spurred a hunt for compatible blood donors, and the requirements are incredibly rigid. The little girl, identified as Zainab, 2, was diagnosed just a few weeks ago with neuroblastoma, a rare kind of blood cancer that typically only strikes children ages 5 and younger, WPLG reports. She's going to require a substantial number of blood transfusions during upcoming cancer treatments, so the OneBlood nonprofit blood distributor has opened up a worldwide search for donors. The reason it needs such a wide-reaching effort: Zainab requires "O" or "A" blood types, and only from donors whose birth parents are 100% Iranian, Pakistani, or Indian. Narrowing the field further is the fact that donors would also need to be missing the "Indian B" antigen commonly found in blood, just like Zainab.

"The possibility of us finding a compatible donor for this little girl within the right ethnic group we want to screen is less than 4%," a OneBlood lab manager says. Even Zainab's own parents don't qualify. OneBlood, which hopes for between seven and 10 donors, has set up a dedicated page where interested parties can apply to see if they're a perfect match, per CBS Miami. So far the group says it has found three matches: two right here in the US, and one across the pond in the UK. FOX 35 notes it's the first time OneBlood has found an international donor for a local recipient. "What you're doing to save a human life, my daughter's life, is amazing," Zainab's dad tells those who've already applied, per WPLG. (A pregnant mom with leukemia needed an exact donor match for lifesaving bone marrow.)

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