The family of a 2-year-old girl who fights an aggressive form of cancer is desperate for a rare type of blood that allows her to get the life-saving treatment she needs.
Zainab Mughal was diagnosed with neuroblastoma two months ago. But his family believes that the tumor in his stomach has been growing for at least 10 months before, his father, Raheel Mughal, said in a video published by OneBlood, the organization that helps the family search for the & # 39; blood supply of Zainab.
Mughal said that his daughter's diagnosis was "the worst thing" that could have been expected, until the doctors discovered another problem.
Zainab's red blood cells lack a common antigen known as Indian-B, said Susan Forbes, OneBlood's vice president of marketing and communications. Because the antigen is so common, it makes it difficult to find blood donors that are missing, too, Forbes said.
Blood is even harder to find because donors must have blood groups "O" or "A" and be 100 percent of Indian, Iranian or Pakistani descent, Forbes said.
Less than 4% of the world's population has the blood group that Zainab has to undergo treatment, which includes frequent blood transfusions, Forbes said. None of Zainab's family turned out to be games, Mughal said.
So far, OneBlood has singled out three games, including one in the UK near London, with the help of the American Rare Donor Program, Forbes said. Since then, all three have sent units of blood to the Miami area, where the family lives, Forbes said.
Up to seven more people will be needed in Zainab to donate during the course of their treatment, according to the organization. And over 1,000 people of Iranian, Indian or Pakistani descent have donated blood to be tested, Forbes said.
"We will certainly need more blood," said Mughal. "My daughter, she is still far from being perfect."
While the blood will not cure Zainab's cancer, it will allow it to undergo two bone marrow transplants, which will make it stronger and allow doctors to give them higher doses of chemotherapy, Forbes said.
The child is already subjected to regular chemotherapy, which has helped the tumor to shrink, but "still has a long way ahead of it," Forbes said.
"My daughter's life depends a lot on the blood," Mughal said, describing the call for help as a "humble request" from her heart.
Eric Strauss of ABC News contributed to this report.