FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Local 10 News reporter Saira Anwer was among the thousands of people worldwide who have stepped up to help OneBlood in the search to find people with the rare blood type needed to save a 2-year-old South Florida girl who has cancer.
Zainab has neuroblastoma, a cancer that develops from immature nerve cells around the adrenal glands and most commonly affects children age 5 or younger. She currently receives treatment at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood.
OneBlood has been organizing the search.
More than 15,000 people worldwide have sent emails to OneBlood since Monday asking how they can help.
"When you come in to donate, you must tell the phlebotomist that you are specifically there to donate for Zainab," OneBlood spokeswoman Susan Forbes said.
Donors must be of South Asian descent, which means the donor's birth parents must both be 100 percent Pakistani, Indian or Iranian and the blood donor must have Type A or Type O blood.
The search for blood started in September.
"We've only found three units so far, in the entire world, that match her," Forbes said.
Seven to 10 more donors are still needed.
According to OneBlood, Zainab's blood is extremely rare because it is missing an antigen, called "Indian B," that most people commonly carry in their red blood cells.
A good donor for Zainab must also be missing the Indian B antigen or the child's body would reject the blood.
Those who suspect they meet the criteria, including Anwer, who has Type A blood and whose parents were born in Pakistan, donated blood Friday.
"They put a special sticker on my paperwork, so they're going to send that in and see if I'm a match," she said.
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