For over a decade, Our Blood Institute and Global Blood Fund have encouraged American blood centers to donate their aging bloodmobiles when it's time to update their fleet.
These buses often have so much left to give, which is why we were thrilled to recently facilitate a donation of a bloodmobile from south Texas down to Mexico.
Over the summer, GBF worked with San Antonio's South Texas Blood & Tissue to find one of its buses a new home. That new home will soon be Juarez, Mexico. Once final importation formalities have completed, it will be across the border and back into operation for a blood donation organization called CETS (Centro Estadal de la Tranfusion Sanguinea).
"When South Texas Blood & Tissue let us know about their plans to donate one of their older buses, we were ecstatic," GBF Executive Director Gavin Evans said. "We were so happy to facilitate the donation because we know just how much it will help the people of Juarez."
The culture of blood donation in Mexico is different than that of the U.S. As GBF volunteer and native of Mexico Martin Gomez explains, residents of the country tend to only donate blood in the event of an emergency involving a family member.
Additionally, Juarez, a city roughly the size of San Antonio situated just south of El Paso, Texas, has been plagued by gang- and drug-related violence for decades and is considered one of the world's most dangerous cities. Such a high level of violent crime stresses an already delicate blood supply.
Those factors, difficult as they are, are exactly why a bloodmobile is so valuable to residents there.
"It's just amazing how equipment like this – which may seem like it has given up its time of life – will still work for another 15 years or more," Gomez said. "Just to imagine where this bus will end up, in what country, it's just amazing to think about that."
Since 2013, GBF has assisted with nearly 20 bloodmobile donations. If you would like to help fund even more, come donate blood with us and let your phlebotomist know you would like to donate the cost of your gifted T-shirt to GBF.
Don't want to let go of your OBI shirt? Understandable! We've included info on some additional ways to support GBF right here.