Bali bombing made me a stronger person, says survivor

A BALI bombing survivor who lost two of her friends 10 years ago today says she feels like the luckiest person alive, despite the horrific tragedy.

Sunshine Coast-based motivational speaker Carren Smith said today was 'bittersweet' in that she had lost her best friend but come out of the tragedy a stronger person.

The former accountant had travelled to Bali with two friends to get over the loss of her partner, who had taken his life.

She was in the Sari Club on the first night of her holiday with her friends.

Minutes later, she was on the floor among bodies, surrounded by fire.

She managed to make her way out of the club before being taken to a local medical centre.

Defying local doctors, she boarded a flight to Sydney less than a day after the bombs went off for life-saving surgery to her crushed skull.

Just days later she found out her two friends were not coming home, sending her into a painful battle with depression which lasted about six years.

In an interview today with local radio station Hot 91,  Ms Smith said she believed good had gone out of the tragedy.

"It is a bittersweet day. 10 years ago my life completely changed,'' she said.

"I feel like I'm the luckiest person alive.''

She said that terrible day became a catalyst for her becoming a better, stronger person.

"I'm a big believer in that everything does happen for a reason.

"Nothing is a mistake in this life.''

"... because of that belief I have been able to have the strength to keep going on and doing what I do.''

The Queenslander, who recently featured on a 60 Minutes where she was reunited with her rescuer, now gives motivational talks, inspiring others to rise above what life throws at them.

She admits for herself, the journey is not over yet.

"I feel like it has been a really, really long time (since the bombings).

"It's been a long journey and it's not over yet.

"We don't get over these sorts of things but we do get on with it.''

She said she hoped she could help others to go on to be 'bigger, better and stronger' than what the bombers had thrown at them.

Ms Smith said it had been particularly hard to lose her best friend of nine years.

"She was the kind of friend you told all your deepest darkest secrets to.''

"She was like my right arm.''

"To have lost both of them, it's a difficult question to answer why I'm here and they are not here.

"I will never be able to reconcile that.''

Miss Smith has written a book about her ordeal, Soul Survivor, which she launched in Mooloolaba on Thursday night. Proceeds went to the Peter Hughes Burn Foundation.

Topics:  bali bombing, carren smith




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