Over the past three weeks, the Blood Center has been forced to cancel dozens of blood drives (68, and counting) leading to a loss of more than 2200 donations due to record cold tempatures, snow, and ice.
If you are able to safely travel to donate blood this week, please do. To find a donation location near you, call (800) 747-5401, visit www.bloodcenterimpact.org, or use the Blood Center’s IMPACT mobile app.
With another winter storm on the way to portions of our service region, we will continue to provide information on the impact of winter weather at www.bloodcenter.org/weather.
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Davenport, Iowa – Central Illinois Community Blood Center, Community Blood Services of Illinois, and Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center have joined the world-wide effort to identify suitable donors for a pediatric cancer patient in Florida. The blood center is working with OneBlood, the not-for-profit blood center serving Florida and other parts of the southeast, on a search to find some of the rarest blood in the world. Compatible donors are needed to help save two-year-old Zainab (ZAHN-ab), a South Florida girl who is battling neuroblastoma, a very aggressive form of cancer. For more information on Zainab, see the OneBlood information page at www.oneblood.org/zainab.
Zainab’s blood is extremely rare because she is missing a common antigen that most people carry on their red blood cells. The antigen is called “Indian B” (Inb). For a person to be a possible match for Zainab, they must also be missing the Indian B antigen, or the little girl's body will reject the blood. Locating people who are missing the Indian B antigen comes down to genetics.
Statistically, the only people who are likely to be a match for Zainab are people of Pakistani, Indian, or Iranian descent. Of these populations, less than 4% of people are actually missing the Indian B antigen.
To be a match for Zainab a donor must meet the following criteria:
Potential donors are asked to call the Blood Center to schedule an appointment to donate by calling (800) 747-5401 and to mention the donor is a potential match for Zainab. Compatibility screening will occur for donors who meet the criteria above following a successful donation. If the donor is identified as a match for Zainab (meaning, blood type “O” or “A” and lacking the “Indian B” antigen), 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.
CBSI, CICBC, MVRBC and OneBlood are both members of America’s Blood Centers (ABC), a network of community blood centers in the U.S. and Canada. OneBlood is working closely with ABC members as well as the American Rare Donor Program (ARDP), an organization that searches the world for rare blood donors. So far, three matching donors have been located, including a donor that ARDP located in the United Kingdom, near London. The other two matching donors are from the United States. While it is promising the three donors have been located, additional donors are needed to support the child’s long-term blood needs. OneBlood is sharing Zainab’s story in the hopes more people who meet the specific donor criteria will come forward to donate for the little girl.
Blood donation is a safe, simple procedure that takes about 45 minutes to one hour. A photo I.D. or MVRBC Donor Card is required to donate. All persons age 17 and up (or 16, with a signed parental permission form) who weigh at least 110 lbs. and are in general good health meet the basic eligibility requirements for blood donation.
About Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center
Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center (MVRBC) is the exclusive provider of blood products and services to 88 hospitals in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin. The Blood Center is based in Davenport, Iowa, where MVRBC’s testing, processing and primary distribution center produces transfusable blood component products from more than 200,000 whole blood and platelet apheresis donations each year. The Blood Center’s service region extends from southwestern Wisconsin to St. Louis, Missouri and from Danville, Illinois to Albia, Iowa, an area with a population of more than 4-million residents. For more information, see www.bloodcenter.org.
OneBlood is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) community asset responsible for providing safe, available and affordable blood to more than 200 hospital partners and their patients. The service area of OneBlood includes the Tampa Bay area, the Orlando-metro area and surrounding Central Florida counties, South and Southeast Florida, parts of Southwest Florida, Pensacola, Tallahassee and areas in Southern Georgia and Alabama. For more information, see www.oneblood.org.
For follow-up questions regarding OneBlood, its reference testing process, or its work with Zainab and her family, please contact Susan Forbes, OneBlood Vice President of Marketing & Communications, at (407) 375-8954 or via email at Susan.Forbes@oneblood.org.
For questions on how local donors can help, please contact Kirby Winn, Manager, Public Relations, at (563) 349-1571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.