Oprah Winfrey: Inspired to Start Over by Disfigured Chimpanzee Attack Victim

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Oprah Winfrey may have announced the end of her long-running talk show last month, but one of its recent guests inspired her to get a new lease on life.

"If living your best life were a test, I would not get a passing grade for 2009," the media queen confessed in the January 2010 edition of O: The Oprah Magazine. "All the things I vowed to do this time last year, I didn't. I didn't give myself more balance or more time. I failed."

According to Winfrey, it wasn't until she came face to face with Charla Nash, the Connecticut woman who was savagely attacked by her friend's 200-pound pet chimpanzee, last February that she became inspired.

"If this woman, whose world was shattered beyond imagination, can push herself to a stronger and better life, anyone can," she wrote in her "What I Know for Sure" monthly editorial.
Nash has been recovering at the Cleveland Clinic. She reportedly underwent more than seven hours of surgery on her face and hands by four teams of surgeons. Paramedics noted she lost her hands, nose, eyes, lips, mid-face bone structure and received significant brain-tissue injuries. She granted an exclusive interview with Winfrey on her 56th birthday in November in what was originally supposed to be a satellite interview.

"I traveled to see her in person. ... I thought we'd have a better connection sitting together than meeting via television screen," she revealed.

"I must admit that I walked in preparing to see horror. And it was a shock, at first, when she took off the veil," Winfrey noted. "But after being with Charla just a short while, I was no longer focused on her devastating scars. Instead, I saw her. Her resilience, her grace, her determination, her will to get better."

"As for me," she concluded, " I'm starting over. No excuses."

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