Doctors told her parents the tumor in the two-year-old's abdomen had been growing for almost half of her life and would need rapid and involved treatment, including two bone marrow transplants, chemotherapy and a series of blood transfusions.
The biopsies and blood tests completed, and Zainab Mughal's rare blood mutation explained, her parents came to grips with the sudden complication in their daughter's cancer fight. A global search is underway. She's part of a team that works around the clock, 365 days a year, to identify and catalogue units of rare blood and, when possible, fulfil requests.
The people most likely to have suitable blood are of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent, according to OneBlood, the non-profit blood centre that is leading the search. The family of Zainab Mughal, of South Florida, has now launched an worldwide search with the help of the non-profit, OneBlood, to find a donor who can help.
OneBlood is offering to coordinate compatibility testing anywhere in the world. "We are searching the world to try to find blood for this little girl".
A person's blood type is determined by antigens. But finding compatible donors is immensely challenging, because she's missing a common antigen most people carry in their blood, called "Indian B". In addition, they must have type O or A blood.
Such donors are "extremely rare", said Sandra Nance, senior director of the American Rare Donor Program.
There was another big complication: Mughal and his wife were tested to see if they were compatible blood donors. Since then, two compatible donors in the USA and one in the United Kingdom have been found, according to OneBlood. "So, so far, she has been going through her normal treatment", her father, Raheel Mughal, said in a video provided by OneBlood.
Zainab's family has expressed their gratitude for efforts to help her. They were unavailable to speak with CNN directly.
But her parents and a team of experts realise it's not over until Zainab walks out of the hospital, cancer free. Otherwise, Zainab's body will reject the transfusion.
"Rare blood is the blood that you don't have when you need it no matter what", Nance said.
Because of the limitations on how much blood donors can give and how often they can give it, there would need to be at least 10 donors on standby. "If you are one of those people from the Middle East, please go out and donate blood for my daughter", he said.