The other option was to send the old bus off to the junkyard.
Instead, the retired Oklahoma Blood Institute bloodmobile will take a trip Wednesday morning to northwestern Mexico where it will restart its career.
“People get attached to vehicles and equipment,” Dr. John Armitage, the blood institute president and CEO said. “This seems like a great way to keep this bloodmobile going, rather than it being chucked away.
The bus is a 1991 model bloodmobile and has 400,000 miles on its frame, 250,000 on its transmission and 150,000 on its engine. And a majority of those miles were in Oklahoma.
But for the past few years, it sat unused in the blood institute's fleet facility.
That ends Wednesday morning when the bloodmobile will take a 15-hour drive to Centro Estatal de Transfusion Sanguinea in Chihuahua, stopping in El Paso to change drivers. Armitage said they put new tires on the bus and gave it a new battery and air conditioning unit, among other repairs.
The donation from the Oklahoma Blood Institute to the facility in Chihuahua was organized through the Global Blood Fund, an Oklahoma organization that organizes equipment donations among blood banks.
The Mexican facility is one of the largest blood donation centers in Mexico. Presently, only about 40 percent of the blood in Chihuahua is from volunteer blood donations and drives, Armitage said.
If someone has a car accident or an operation, medical professionals must call in family and friends to donate their blood, he said.
“If you wait until somebody has a car accident, your ability to get them blood is much less so than if you prepare for that in advance,” he said. “The blood center down there is pushing to get more blood drives, and because they have some fairly rural areas, having a bloodmobile is going to enable them to get to the smaller towns. We can pull up in this vehicle and have it ready to go.”