Health

Local blood centers looking for match for young Florida cancer patient

The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, along with other providers across the country, are putting out a nationwide call for a rare blood type that could benefit a pediatric cancer patient in South Florida.

Blood center officials are seeking a donor who can provide blood components for a young patient in South Florida only identified as Zainab. She is undergoing treatment for neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that affects children.

MVRBC is working with OneBlood, the not-for-profit blood center serving Florida and other parts of the southeast, on the search.

However, officials from MVRBC warn finding a donor will be difficult.

Zainab requires donations from individuals who are either type “O” or type “A.” In addition, the donor must also lack a common antigen carried in red blood cells called “Indian B.”

“Statistically, the only people who are likely to be a match for Zainab are people of Pakistani, Indian, or Iranian descent,” according to a news release from MVRBC.

Of these populations, only four percent of people are actually missing the Indian B antigen, officials state.

To match the criteria, individuals:

l Must be exclusively Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent — meaning the donor’s birthparents are both 100 percent Pakistani, Indian or Iranian

l Must be blood type “O” or “A.”

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If they may match this criteria, individuals are asked to mention this when they schedule an appointment to donate at MVRBC.

Compatibility screening will occur for these potential donors. If they are identified as a match for Zainab, “the donor will be added to a list of potential donors for Zainab and asked to schedule future appointments for donation, as needs are dictated by her ongoing treatment,” according to a news release.

According to MVRBC, three matching donors have been located, but additional donors are still needed to support her long-term blood needs.

For more information, visit oneblood.org/zainab.

l Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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