ATLANTA - As Richard Williams sees it, part of him is now a super model.
Model Niki Taylor visited the American Red Cross offices on Wednesday to meet a group of blood donors. The group was some of the 100 people who donated blood that ended up transfused into Taylor following a devastating accident in Atlanta in 2001.
"Coming here, knowing that I was going to meet some of the donors that rolled up a sleeve and ultimately gave me another chance at life was such a blessing," Taylor said.
Taylor said that the car in which she was riding in hit a utility pole. She said speed wasn't a factor, estimating the car was only going 25 miler per hour, and with no obvious signs of serious injury, the group was able to drive off. But Taylor said her knees hit the dashboard while her seatbelt stretched across her midsection and moments later, she started having severe stomach pains.
911 was called and Taylor was taken to the hospital with a number of problems. She lay in Grady Memorial Hospital for a month and a half unconscious. She was given a one in 10 chance of surviving. Taylor lost 80 percent of her blood, she died on the operating table twice and doctors performed 41 surgeries on her.
But she said that thanks to the group of people gathered at the Red Cross offices and others who donated, she beat the odds. Eventually, Taylor walked out of the hospital and has gone on to a nearly normal life.
"It really helps solidify what it is that it means to give blood," Williams told Nelson's News on wsbtv.com. "It's such a simple act, but you know that very simple act has a very tremendous impact. And to be able to meet someone who actually received a unit of your blood is just, it's really hard to put into words."
Wednesday's event was a rare one. Donors typically never know where their donated blood is going to go, nor do they get a chance to meet the recipient. But Taylor wanted an opportunity to meet the people she's thought so much about.
"I want to just keep hugging them and kissing them and find out about them, because I've always wondered what personalities did my donors have because I have a little bit of every one of them in me," Taylor said.
"It's really cool," Williams said. "I had my picture made with a supermodel today and I guess I can say that one pint of me is a supermodel."
Log on to redcross.org to find out where you can donate blood.