ORLANDO, Fla. -- A fourth match has been found who has some of the rarest blood in the world needed to help a 2-year-old Florida girl battling cancer.
Zainab has neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer. Thousands of donations have been tested to match her blood; but of those, only four people have her rare blood type so far.
Oneblood made the announcement Wednesday as they continue the search for additional donor matches for Zainab. It took a month to find the fourth donor, and three to six more donors are still needed.
Of the four donor matches so far, two were found in the United Kingdom and two were found in the United States.
Her blood is extremely rare because she is missing a common antigen that most people have in their red blood cells.
The antigen is called "Indian B," and donors must also be missing the Indian B antigen to be a match, according to OneBlood.
The only people who are likely to be a match for Zainab are of Pakistani, Indian, or Iranian descent. And, of those populations, less than four percent are missing the antigen, according to statistics.
A total of seven to 10 donors are needed to support the child's long-term blood transfusion needs. OneBlood continues to work with the American Rare Donor Program (ARDP) and nearly two dozen blood centers in hopes of finding more compatible donors for the little girl.
OneBlood has received more than 22,000 emails from people who meet the specific donor criteria for Zainab. More than 2,200 units have been tested to determine if the blood is a match.
"The response by the public to help Zainab has been unprecedented and is bringing heightened awareness to the need of a diverse blood supply," Oneblood said in a press release.
Donors must meet the following criteria to be a match, according to OneBlood:
- Must be exclusively Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent – meaning the donor’s birth parents are both100% Pakistani, Indian or Iranian
- Must be blood type “O” or “A” (If a donor does not know their blood type, but meet the requirements in bullet point #1, they should still donate to see if they are a possible match)
- IMPORTANT: Donors must inform their phlebotomist prior to their donation that they are donating for Zainab to ensure their donation receives the additional compatibility testing necessary to determine if they are a match for Zainab.
- Donation information can be found at www.oneblood.org/zainab.
To learn more or find out if you're a match, click here.