Child with Extremely Rare Blood is on the Road to Recovery
(April 24, 2019 Orlando, Florida) Three-year-old Zainab Mughal, the South Florida child with some of the rarest blood in the world has completed the most complicated and exhausting part of her cancer treatment.
On April 22nd, Zainab was released from Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami after undergoing her second bone marrow transplant and receiving multiple blood transfusions. While it will be several months before it is known if the cancer has been put into remission, her doctor says the little girl is a “superhero” and is optimistic she is on the road to recovery.
Zainab still has additional treatments ahead of her, including radiation and immunotherapy. Doctors say it is likely she will need additional blood transfusions as she enters the next phase of her cancer treatment.
Update on Search for Donors
At this time, OneBlood has ended its international search for additional donors, but continues to test units collected in its service area, as well as units sent to them from other blood centers in the United States and Canada. To date, OneBlood has tested more than 4,000 units. (A media tool kit with NEW interviews from Zainab’s parents, doctor and representatives from OneBlood is available by clicking here).
Zainab’s Rare Blood Needs
Zainab captured the hearts of people around the world and sparked a global call to action for blood donations when it was discovered she has extraordinarily rare blood and would need very specific blood donors to save her life.
Zainab is missing a common antigen known as the Indian B antigen and can only receive blood from people who are also missing the same antigen. Finding compatible donors would not be easy. That’s because the only people who are likely to be missing the antigen are people of Indian, Iranian or Pakistani descent. Of these populations, less than 4% are likely to be missing the Indian B antigen.
Finding Donors For Zainab
For the past eight months, OneBlood, the not-for-profit blood center serving Florida and other parts of the southeastern United States has been at the helm of finding the blood. OneBlood partnered with the American Rare Donor Program (ARDP) and other blood centers around the country looking for donors that had the same rare blood as Zainab.
Within the first few weeks three donors were found – two in the United States and one in the United Kingdom. But more donors would be needed to sustain the amount of blood Zainab would need.
In the hopes of finding additional compatible donors, OneBlood took to Facebook on December 3, 2018 and shared Zainab’s story. Within hours, the story went viral and media from around the globe were reporting the story. A few days later, more than 25,000 people who met the donation criteria to be a possible match for Zainab responded wanting to donate for her.
About The Five Donors
The collective efforts of OneBlood, the American Rare Donor Program and the entire blood banking community has resulted in a total of five compatible donors for Zainab. Two from the United States, two from the United Kingdom and one from Australia.
The five donors have been consistently donating each time they are eligible. Their unit of blood is then shipped to OneBlood and is available for Zainab. These five donors have played a significant role in saving Zainab’s life and made it possible for her to have the surgery in January to remove the cancerous tumor and subsequently, two lifesaving bone marrow transplants, one in February and the other in April. Zainab required multiple blood transfusions during each of these procedures.
Diverse Blood Supply
Zainab’s story has resonated around the world and has brought unprecedented global attention to the need for a diverse blood supply. Many of the people reaching out to donate for Zainab are first time donors. The hope is that these people will continue to donate every time they are eligible and further diversify the donor pool.
OneBlood is thankful and grateful for the collective efforts by blood donors, the American Rare Donor Program and their international colleagues, blood centers in the United States, Canada and around the world, as well as the news media for their relentless help to find donors for Zainab. It takes a team of people to save a person’s life, but for Zainab it has been a worldwide effort.