The supermodel and former A Model Life star was reportedly overwhelmed by news of Japan's tsunami because it reawakened memories of Asia's deadly 2004 tsunami, which Nemcova was personally caught in and tragically impacted by while visiting Thailand.
"To see them on Friday morning was horrifying. My heart was broken and my love was going to everyone in Japan. It's something so hard to imagine what they are going through, and I can imagine it because of my experience. It just feels [like] hopelessness... The power [of the waves] is so enormous. You feel powerless. You feel you can't do anything because the more you fight, the more you lose energy and with the more chance of survival, you are losing," Nemcova said during a Monday appearance on Good Morning America.
"You have to try to stay calm, but there is a debris of broken trees and doors and everything is crushing on you and you are under debris trying to catch your breath of fresh air and you can't. It's something you cannot do anything about, but the best thing people can do is to try to stay calm and alert and that's something that could save your life."
Nemcova lost her fiance Simon Atlee when the current took him away while the couple was vacationing at a Thai resort. The supermodel was left with a shattered pelvis following her eight-hour attempt to cling to a palm tree while the raging waves engulfed the location.
Nemcova overcame months of healing and finally regained her ability to walk -- after which she decided to put her modeling career on the backburner and found The Happy Hearts Foundation, a charity designed to aid children after a natural disaster.
"When a natural disaster happens, it's amazing to see the unconditioned love coming from every direction and that helps with the resilience to stand up and start the healing process. But once the support goes away, the resilience is weakened and often what we see after first responders leave is there's a gap period which happens before rebuilding starts taking place. That gap period can be for two to up to 10 years. That's where Happy Hearts comes in," Nemcova explained on GMA.
"We rebuild schools after a natural disaster and that's the best way to help the healing process for children, because it gives them normalcy, but not just for children, it helps to elevate the whole community. If I could ask anyone to take action for Japan it is to help them now with the first response, because every day is so crucial now, but to really be there for the longrun and have a sustained response. That's the best way they can come back on their feet and go back to a happy life."
"One contestant who couldn't be here tonight because truthfully, she's speaking at the U.N., supermodel survivor Petra Nemcova," Bergeron said as he announced Nemcova's participation.
Nemcova was reportedly convinced not to drop out of Dancing with the Stars' twelfth season, which will premiere next Monday, based on a belief that her participation may generate a lot of donations to her beloved foundation.
"Anything I do in my life -- any project I get involved with -- has to have a meaning and a purpose," Nemcova told The Post.
"This is really 'Dancing With A Purpose' for me. And the purpose is to be able to shine more of a light on the lives of children who are forgotten."
(Photo credit ABC)
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