Fourth donor found for two-year-old Florida girl who needs extremely rare blood to survive

A fourth donor has been located for a young South Florida girl battling a very aggressive form of cancer.

The not-for-profit blood center, OneBlood, announced on Wednesday that a fourth compatible blood donor has been found in the United Kingdom for two-year-old Zainab. 

Zainab is a two-year-old South Florida girl who is battling a very aggressive form of cancer called neuroblastoma. Her blood is extremely rare because she is missing a common antigen that most people carry in their red blood cells. The antigen is called 'Indian B.'

For a person to be a possible match for Zainab, they must also be missing the Indian B antigen or the little girl's body will reject the blood. Those most likely to be a match for Zainab are people of Pakistani, Indian, or Iranian descent. Of these populations, less than 4% of these people are actually missing the Indian B antigen. 

OneBlood works closely with other blood centers and the American Rare Donor Program (ARDP) to find matches for Zainab. ARDP made the arrangements for this fourth donor to be flown to the United States. Here, they were able to confirm that the donor's blood is 100% compatible with Zainab. 

Additional donors are still needed, OneBlood says, as Zainab will need blood transfusions for the foreseeable future. 

To be a match for Zainab, OneBlood says the following must be met:

  • Must be exclusively Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent – meaning the donor’s birth parents are both 100% Pakistani, Indian or Iranian  
  • Must be blood type “O” or “A”
  • All donations for Zainab must be coordinated with OneBlood in advance to ensure the additional compatibility testing is performed.

Three other matching donors have been located, including one other from the United Kingdom. The other two donors are already in the United Sates.