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Having survived the 2004 tsunami that claimed her fiance's life, and in the wake of the tragedy in Japan earlier this year, Petra Nemacova almost quit DWTS.

Instead, the supermodel said she's going Dancing With a Purpose.

To the music of "You Raise Me Up," which she listened to after revisiting the areas hit by the tsunami, she and Dmitry Chaplin waltzed to a tie for the lead (with Hines Ward) last night. Bruno says she danced like an angel. We won't argue:

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Petra Nemcova's performance wasn't the best of the Dancing With the Stars season opener, but the supermodel's effort was easily the most emotional.

In 2004, she survived, barely, a tsunami in Southeast Asia that claimed thousands of lives, including her fiance. Her pelvis was shattered in four places.

During rehearsals for DWTS March 11, Petra, who worked tirelessly to promote relief efforts, almost quit when she learned of the devastation in Japan.

Ultimately, the Czech beauty decided to stick it out and use the show as a chance to "shine more of a light on the lives of children who are forgotten."

Given her obstacles, her opening routine was more than respectable ...

by Free Britney at . Comments

Petra Nemcova nearly bailed on Dancing With the Stars, which begins next week. But the reason she almost quit is now the exact reason she's hanging in.

With the premiere days away, the supermodel - who barely survived the deadly Asian 2004 tsunami - is shaken up emotionally by last week's disaster in Japan.

"It's very hard to look ... at those videos," she told Access Hollywood.

"There's the famous saying 'six degrees of separation,' but when a natural disaster happens, there's no degree of separation. We are all connected."

Petra Nemcova Promo Pic

Petra Nemcova has seen what a tsunami can do first hand.

In 2004, Nemcova spent eight hours clinging to a palm tree when deadly waves ravaged a Thai resort and claimed the life of her fiance, Simon Atlee.

After months of healing and learning how to walk again, she went back to Thailand to help - instead of going back to work in the fashion business.

She founded The Happy Hearts Foundation to aid children in the wake of natural disasters. She nearly left DWTS to devote herself entirely to it.

Instead, she'll be there when the premiere airs Monday - with the victims in mind.

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Petra Nemcova Biography

Petra Nemcova Promo Pic Petra Nemcova is a super, super model. This is a young woman that survived a tsunami attack... not to mention a relationship with James... More »
Full Name
Petra Nemcova
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