Niki-Taylor-NexcareNiki Taylor knows about the importance of blood donations. The mother of four required 100 units of blood after surviving a horrific car accident in 2001. Not one to rest on her laurels, the supermodel has been a staunch advocate of blood donors, serving as an American Red Cross Ambassador since 2007 and working with Nexcare give campaign for the past three years. Niki chats with OK! to share some surprising statistics about blood donations and how she encourages her family to give back.

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OK!: You mention often that you owe your life to blood donors, what are some of the statistics?
Niki Taylor: Every day should be World Blood Donor Day because of the numbers. Forty-one-thousand donations are needed a day in the US alone to meet the needs of people who are needing surgeries or undergoing treatment, cancer patients, preemies and then accidents, like the one I was in. So it’s 41,000 a day. Every two seconds someone needs blood and a single blood donation can save three lives. Five million Americans each year are required to have a blood transfusion. Every blood type is needed but O-negative is the universal blood type and that’s the blood type they give in an emergency, during emergency surgeries and when you go to the emergency room.

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OK!: Through working with these organizations have you heard from others who have benefited from blood donations like yourself?
NT: Well I will say that my parents, my mom and dad, are part of The Gallon Club. They’ve been giving since I was a kid. Any time there’s a blood drive or a blood mobile outside anywhere, if it’s been past 56 days, my mom is pulling whoever she’s with into the donation center to give blood. My husband also gives and every 56 days is allowed. I hold his hand. The process is really easy and takes about 30 minutes. It’s just a stick. We have the best technicians. You get cookies and juice! They make sure you’re super comfortable.

OK!: At what age did you start encouraging your kids to give back to their community?
NT: Jake and Hunter are 19 now and my daughter is five and my youngest son is two and I think you start as soon as they can understand it. Even if it’s something as small as donating a toy to Goodwill or giving it to somebody who needs it. I don’t think you can start soon enough. I think any age it’s good to teach to care for others. That’s what we’re here for – we’re here to love on others.

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What do you do to give back? Tell us in the comments or tweet @OKMagazine.

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