Huntsville Joins Worldwide Search for Rare Blood Donors to Save Toddler

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HUNTSVILLE Ala. - Two-year-old Zainab Mughal has neuroblastoma, an aggressive cancer. Doctors say fighting it would require two bone marrow transplants and a series of blood transfusions.

Zainab can't receive treatment until she finds blood donors with her very rare blood type.

"Out of the Iranian, Pakistani, and Indian backgrounds, only four percent of that population is missing the same antigen as she is, the Indian B antigen, so only those are going to be a match for her and be able to donate for her," said Eric Franchois, the district community development coordinator with LifeSouth Community Blood Centers.

Searches for those with the same rare blood type have gone on across the globe. The Huntsville Islamic Center partnered with LifeSouth on Sunday in the hopes that someone here may be a match for her.

"We are trying to do whatever we can from this region; whatever we have in our power we are trying to do that. So to find that real match," said Lasker Lasker, the general secretary of the Huntsville Islamic Center. "But if it doesn't match, the rest of this blood will go to the other people to save the rest of the lives."

Zainab needs as many as 10 donors for treatment. Only three have been found so far - one in London and two in the United States.

"Who knows where else these matches might be? So if we can just do our small part to test a few people to see if they're a match and maybe find one, you know, maybe find none. At the end of the day, we're still saving lives, we're still trying to help out," said Franchois. "It's such a great cause and we're so proud and so honored to be a part of it."

Blood donations that are not a match will be used to help people in the local community. Samples of the donations will be sent to a lab in Florida, where Zainab lives, to see if they are a match.

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