Blood donors are everyday heroes. They roll up a sleeve to help save the life of someone they will never meet. This week, around 15 of those lifesavers were reunited with one donor they helped more than 10 years ago.
THE REUNION It was an emotional scene at the Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter of the American Red Cross, as supermodel Niki Taylor hugged some of the blood donors who helped save her life more than 10 years ago.
Niki was critically injured in a 2001 car accident. She needed more than 100 transfusions during her treatment, and it took more than 300 blood donors to provide the blood and blood products she needed to survive.
“My road to recovery was long and tough and painful,” said Niki. “I needed many transfusions and I had dozens of operations to repair the damage caused by the accident.” Niki credits her survival to the donors who gave her a second chance at life and the doctors, nurses and staff at Grady Memorial Hospital who treated her.
Wednesday’s reunion was a surprise for the blood donors, who knew they were meeting a recipient, but had no idea the person they helped was a celebrity. Lenwood Greene traveled from South Carolina for the reunion. “I was happy to make the trip,” he said. “I donate because I believe the Red Cross needs my donations.”
I’ve encountered the Red Cross before through the USO and in other ways,” said donor Sarah-Gail Hytowitz. “Today is very exciting for my family and friends.”
“It’s very exciting to meet one of the people who has been a recipient of my blood donation,” said Susan Jackson, an Atlanta-area donor. “It’s actually inspired me. I’m a seven-gallon donor.”
INSPIRING OTHERS A car accident nearly took her life, but Niki took it back. Her experience turned her into a longtime supporter of the Red Cross and she is a member of the organization’s National Celebrity Cabinet. Niki is committed to raising awareness about the ongoing need for blood donation. She hopes that sharing her personal story will inspire others around the country to roll up a sleeve and donate blood or platelets.
“Beauty comes from within,” said Niki. “Red Cross blood donors generously give of themselves to help save lives. It doesn’t get more beautiful than that.”
HOW TO GIVE For more information about donating blood, or to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets, please visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.