LifeSouth Blood Center is teaming up with a local Islamic Center to track down a rare form of blood for a little girl in Florida. Two-year-old Zainab Mughal is battling a rare form of cancer and is in need of blood donations. The problem is her blood is so rare donors are hard to come by.
"I think it's less than 4% of the Pakistani, Indian, and Irani ethnic background that are missing that antigen like she is," said Eric Franchois the community development director for LifeSouth.
That's how rare the blood is that little Zainab mughal needs for her treatment. Zainab is missing the "Indian B" antigen and needs donations from someone of her ethnicity who is also missing the antigen.
Franchois said it isn't uncommon for someone with a blood disorder to need a donation from someone of their own ethnicity. Take sickle cell anemia for example.
"We typically look at other donors that are african american because they have similar antigens and markers on their red blood cells that would highly reduce the amount of adverse reactions that patient's gonna have when they get a transfusion."
Franchois told me this is why it's important for people of all races and ethnicities to donate blood.
Even though the blood drive in Huntsville for the little girl hasn't happened yet the word is already spreading quickly. A man stopped by LifeSouth to donate after he read her story on social media.
"I seen the ad on the child and I just wanted to come in and see if I can be any kind of help to them. I have o positive blood and that's what they use in a lot of children," said Dale Schrimsher.
So far only three people, two in the United States and one in the United Kingdom, have been a match for the toddler. Franchois said people should still donate whether they're a direct match or not.
"You might need someone very specific to be your blood donor and while you may not have a rare blood disease or cancer that requires that you have one particular donor or pool of donors you're a match to someone out there that needs blood."
LifeSouth said if you know you have a rare blood type, they encourage you to donate just in case you are a match for someone who's in need of your blood type.
LifeSouth and the Huntsville Islamic Center are holding a blood drive this Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Islamic Center on Sparkman Drive.