Local blood bank joins worldwide search for rare blood donors to help Florida 2-year-old

We Are Blood is assisting in a worldwide search for rare blood donors to help a 2-year-old girl from Florida. The young girl, Zainab, is battling an aggressive form of cancer, neuroblastoma. 

We Are Blood says the donor must have a very specific background. They must be exclusively Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent, which means the donor's birth parents must both be 100 percent Pakistani, Indian or Iranian. The donors also must be type A or type O.

The reason her blood is so rare is because she is missing a common antigen that is carried on most people's red blood cells, according to OneBlood, a Florida blood center who is leading the search. The antigen is called "Indian B." They say it comes down to genetics to find people who are missing the antigen.

"Statistically, the only people who are likely to be a match for Zainab are people of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent," OneBlood says. "Of these populations, less than 4 percent of the people are actually missing the Indian B antigen."

OneBlood says the worldwide search has located three donors so far, but more are needed to support Zainab's long-term blood needs. 

If Central Texans match or know of anyone who match Zainab's needs, they are asked to go to weareblood.org to schedule a donation ASAP. When donating, We Are Blood says to mention Zainab's name or use the code D017 to make sure the donations are tracked and processed correctly.