Cayetana Maristela has been going to the local Community Blood Center for over three decades. She recently completed her 100th donation to the center.

Maristela, a St. Joseph resident and ELL teacher in Kansas City, said she started donating blood in college in 1981.

“When I went to Benedictine, they had an advertisement to give blood and so that’s when I started giving blood,” Maristela said.

Maristela took a brief hiatus from giving blood due to advice of medical staff and nerve damage in her right arm.

“My arm started to get numb and they said that the more that you give, maybe the nerve might get damaged or something like that. And it did. My friends said, ‘Just do it on the left,’ but I got scared, and so I stopped for a while,” Maristela said.

When she returned to giving blood, Maristela began giving platelets, tiny blood cells that help your blood to clot and to stop bleeding.

“For a time, I was also donating platelets because I have AB blood, which is not very common. The nurse she said, ‘Platelets will be better for you,’ because it’s only a portion of your blood that people do need,” Maristela said.

Maristela encourages anyone who is nervous about giving blood to give it a shot.

“Just do it. You can’t help but be nervous, especially if it’s your first time, but I do want to say that there is nothing to it. Everybody’s friendly and they will take a little blood to make sure your blood is safe,” Maristela said.

The teacher continues to donate blood because she said she believes you never know who it could help.

“There’s a lot of people who have accidents. It is necessary for them,” Maristela said.

To learn more about donating blood you can visit the Community Blood Center’s website online at savealife.org.

Abby Trapp can be reached

at abby.trapp@newspressnow.com

Follow on Twitter at @NPNowTrapp