Family & Pets

What the loss of her son taught Alisa Camplin about resilience

What the loss of her son taught Alisa Camplin about resilience

Alisa Camplin doesn’t believe in the notion of bouncing back after experiencing hardship.

"When I lost my son, it was one of the worst things in my life," Camplin, 46, told 9Honey.

"That's when I realised resilience isn't about bouncing back, but bouncing forward. In life you never get to go back."

Camplin’s first child, Finnan, passed away 10 days after his premature birth in 2011 from congenital heart disease, following six operations to save his life.

While the loss was not easy to come to terms with, the resilience Camplin had learnt during her time as an Olympic athlete helped her cope.

Her career as an aerial skier saw her win gold at the 2002 Winter Olympics, the second  winter Olympic gold medal ever won by an Australian.

Camplin went on to win bronze at the 2006 Winter Olympics, making her the first Australian skier to win medals at consecutive Winter Olympics.

During her sporting career Camplin suffered from a number of injuries including a broken collarbone, dislocated shoulder, broken hand, broken ribs, a ripped Achilles tendon, dislocated sternum, fractured ankles, torn knee ligaments and nine concussions - forcing her to build resilience.

That resilience remains her secret weapon, and she has made it her business to teach others how to improve theirs.

Ever since then, she has founded The Alisa Camplin-AIA Vitality Workplace Resilience Toolkit, which has evolved to include the challenges workers have been faced with since the beginning of the pandemic.

"It's important for leaders in workplaces and families to practice good habits visibly, not just in their heads, so their colleagues see them," the athlete says.

"You want to take them along on the journey with you."

“When I lost my son, it was one of the worst things in my life.”

Camplin and her family have been based in Hong Kong for the past two years for husband Oliver Warner's work.

"We came here for a bit of an adventure," she says.

"We followed my husband's work and thought it would be great for the family and it's been fabulous for us."

Their children Florence, six, and Felix, three, both adjusted well to the move.

"It's been pretty good," Camplin says.

"Kids are adaptable. They just need to feel safe and once they found friends it's been fabulous for them."