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Niki Taylor Beat The Odds After Car Crash

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Mar. 18 2011, Published 12:09 p.m. ET

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When supermodel Niki Taylor signed up to star on Celebrity Apprentice, her charity of choice was the American Red Cross because she received 100 units of blood from the emergency response organization after her car accident in 2001.

“The was my way of giving back and thanking people for donating,” the married mom of three, 36, tells me during a Reader’s Digest We Hear You America event.

Although she is grateful she no longer suffers any residual effects, she recalls the long journey it took to get better.

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“Back then, when I was healing and everything was getting back normal again, something would happen here and there, but I had my back redone, I had to get pins out, pins put back in, and it was the best thing I ever did,” she says. “So, my back, I’ve got no pain, and my liver’s fine. I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been in my whole life – amazing, better than ever.”

What would Niki tell others coping with injuries sustained during a car accident?

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“I think it’s important that you have a support system,” she says. “Your family, friends, and for me, it was prayer. It was people praying for me, it was people’s blood being donated, and the doctors. I just don’t think my time here on earth was done. You have to keep fighting. I beat every odd. I flatlined twice, and they were making funeral arrangements several times.”

She adds, “You keep fighting, and then you get better, you get off the pain medicine, you go to therapy, you get yourself strong again. You eat right, and it’s such a gift. Every day, all those little things we take for granted, like walking or using our hands and fingers … and just breathing … it’s a gift.”

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She credits her faith with keeping her attitude upbeat.

“The power of prayer is a very strong thing, and God wasn’t done with me yet. That was a huge part.”

Staying focused on what mattered helped Niki succeed on Celebrity Apprentice when squabbles erupted between more fiery members of the cast like Star Jones, Nene Leakes and Lisa Rinna.

“I was there fighting for the American Red Cross, and I think some of us remembered that, and some of us forgot,” she says. “I’m one of the nice ones. I want to do good work, keep things calm and nice, keep everybody happy and be a team.”

Pick up the OK! on newsstands now to learn about Niki’s diet in our What I Ate Today feature. The cover line is “Kim’s Dream Wedding.“

Also, catch Niki on Celebrity Apprentice, which airs Sundays at 9/8c on NBC, and on tour promoting Reader’s Digest’s We Hear You America campaign, which will hit 100 cities across the U.S. to celebrate the best of America and offer financial and promotional support to communities during these difficult economic times.

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