Petra Nemcova and New Hearts: Responding to Tragedy

New York supermodel and 2004 Tsunami survivor Petra Nemcova has turned her tragedy of losing her boyfriend to the disaster and battling her own injuries into a foundation, a book, and an inspiration to others.

Happy Hearts Foundation was started by Nemcova to help the child victims of the Dec. 26th natural disaster.

Nemcova’s book Love Always, Petra: A story of the Discovery of Life’s Hidden Gifts is having all the proceeds from sales of the book to go to the Give 2 Asia Happy Hearts Foundation.

The publication of the book coincides with the one-year anniversary of the Tsunami that devastated coastal Thailand and its neighboring nations.

Nemcova was featured Dec. 15th at the Wharton Club speaking to the National Press Club about her recovery and efforts.

She told one British website regarding working with the child victims: “They don’t see you, they look through you and it was very heartbreaking. I want to put the stars back in their eyes.”

Nemcova, 26, held on for eight hours for dear life following the tragedy.

She clung to a palm tree while she endured excruciating pelvic pain besides her other injuries and watched her boyfriend being swept off to sea.

The book’s cover shows Nemcova standing on the beach facing tiny waves lapping up on the shore, her back away from the ocean.

A huge wave pulled her and her boyfriend, fashion photographer Simon Atlee, 33, out of the house. People were screaming and kids were yelling help.

“I heard people screaming and I looked out the window and people were jumping out of the way, jumping into the pool, “said Nemcova, who also has a home in London.

She was on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s 2003 swimsuit issue.

“I was screaming ‘On the roof, on the roof,'” Nemcova told a local paper.

Before she and her boyfriend could react a wall of water shred their wooden bungalow and sent them sprawling into debris that swallowed him without a trace, reported the New York Daily News.

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