April 2019 Update – Three-year-old Zainab Mughal, the South Florida child with some of the rarest blood in the world has competed the most complicated and exhausting part of her cancer treatment and is on the road to recovery. On April 22, 2019, Zainab was released from the hospital 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 about her prognosis.

The Rhode Island Blood Center (RIBC) has joined a worldwide search being led by OneBlood to find rare blood donors for Zainab, a two-year-old Florida girl battling high-risk neuroblastoma. She is in need of extremely rare blood.

Criteria for Donors

✅ Donors must be EXCLUSIVELY Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent, meaning the blood donor’s birth parents are BOTH 100% Pakistani, Indian or Iranian.
✅ MUST be type “O” or “A”. If you do not know your blood type but meet the above criteria, please donate as all blood will be typed.
✅ Donor should not have traveled to Pakistan, India or Iran in the last 12 months.

Potential donors who fit the criteria should call the blood center’s donor scheduling team at 401-453-8383 to book an appointment at one of the six donor centers where the donations can be properly tagged for specific testing. 

Why so specific?

Zainab’s blood is extremely rare because she is missing a common antigen that most people carry on the surface of their red blood cells. The antigen is called “Indian B” (Inb). For a person to be a possible match for Zainab, they must also be missing the Indian B antigen, or her body will reject the blood. Locating people who are missing the Indian B antigen comes down to genetics.

Battling childhood neuroblastoma can be a long fight. Zainab has four donors worldwide – 2 in the United States, 2 in the United Kingdom. The goals is to find at least seven to ten blood donors who can help sustain her during her fight.

“Finding blood donors for Zainab may be harder than finding a needle in a haystack, but that doesn’t mean one of them isn’t right here in Rhode Island,” says Kara LeBlanc, Marketing Communications Manager at RIBC. “You will never know if you don’t give.” RIBC maintains an extensive inventory of antigen-negative blood both liquid and frozen. Unfortunately, none of them currently match Zainab. These units can be shipped throughout the United States and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.