An Iranian graduate student in Florida is suffering from a rare blood disease that can only be cured by a matching bone marrow transplant donor, WSVN-TV reported.
Mona Zarei came to America to earn her Ph.D. in engineering after graduating from college in Iran. She never expected to be diagnosed with a disease that would rush her to the intensive care unit 22 times.
“The past three months has been very hard for me actually,” she said.
Zarei suffers from paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), a condition where red blood cells break down earlier than normal and leads to bone marrow failure. Only 8,000 people in the world share this diagnosis. She is currently waiting for a bone marrow transplant donor.
The symptoms of PNH include chronic muscle and bone pain, blood clots, and headaches.
"They kept me for five or even like 10 to 15 days because the pain wouldn't go away. The pain was so excruciating," said Zarei, "And they didn't even think I will survive."
Although doctors say her condition is worsening, Zarei hasn’t given up hope, and continues to pursue her degree.
Zarei said she will continue to fight until she finds a donor, and is encouraging people to get tested.
"Every person who volunteers to donate such a gift to me is giving me a chance for me to live," she said.