As a parent, you’d do pretty much anything to save the life of your child. You’d slave for untold hours or sacrifice your own existence if need be.
You’d offer up any reasonable sacrifice — and quite a few that most wouldn’t consider reasonable. But what happens when your child’s future lies entirely in the hands of others?
That must be one of the worst feelings in the whole world. But it’s exactly the emotion that the parents of a 2-year-old girl from Miami, Florida, are experiencing.
According to WXIA, little Zainab Mughal was as sweet and cheerful a girl as you can imagine. To her parents’ horror, though, she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma.
The American Cancer Society has explained that neuroblastoma attacks developing nerve cells. That’s why physicians typically only find it in children younger than 10.
About half of neuroblastomas start in the adrenal glands. The rest tend to cluster around the nerves near the pelvis, neck or chest.
It’s an extremely aggressive cancer. And in little Zainab’s case, it’s compounded by her genetic heritage.
According to the New York Times, part of neuroblastoma treatment involves regular blood transfusions. However, Zainab’s blood doesn’t contain the Indian-B antigen, a common part of most people’s makeup.
However, individuals of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent sometimes also lack that specific molecule. It’s not many, though.
Studies say only four percent of people from those genetic backgrounds are missing the antigen. What’s more, Zainab has A-positive blood, so any donor would need to have Type A or Type O blood.
Her father, Raheel Mughal, said, “The doctor said that for every bone marrow transplant, she’s going to need two to three units [of blood]. … And that’s not how much blood is available.”
Indeed, USA Today reported that only four donors have been found worldwide who are a match with Zainab. That’s not enough to give her a fighting chance.
Donors can only give once every 56 days. And the little girl will need at least three to six more donors for her to continue to get the treatment she needs.
So what can a parent do? Zainab’s family has partnered with OneBlood, a nonprofit dedicated to facilitating blood transfusions. Over 22,000 people have contacted the organization since it started publicizing the young girl’s plight.
It has also tested more than 2,200 units of blood. They’ve only found one match.
That doesn’t mean they or Zainab’s parents are going to give up. To learn more about donation efforts, visit Zainab’s OneBlood page.
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