Doctors Hospital announced Monday that Copeland’s condition has improved from serious to good, meaning her “vital signs are stable and within normal limits, (the) patient is conscious and comfortable,” Doctors spokeswoman Barclay Bishop said in an e-mail. “Indicators are excellent.”
Copeland has been at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center since early May because of a devastating infection called necrotizing fasciitis, which forced surgeons to remove her left leg, right foot and both hands. In a blog on a Web site devoted to Copeland, her father, Andy, wrote that her pain has diminished from eight areas of her body a week ago to just one area in her abdomen, the donor site for a muscle flap. Her other grafts are healing well, Andy Copeland wrote.
“Her progress from where she was a week ago is as night is to day,” he wrote.
For the first time in 49 days, Copeland was helped into a wheelchair Sunday and her father pushed her around outside the hospital for an hour, with her mother following with water.
“All three of us talked while we rolled along and eventually we came to rest near a grove of pine trees,” Andy Copeland wrote. “The smile on Aimee’s face said that this was the best therapy that she has had in weeks. Not one thought of the pain in her abdomen, not the slightest concern over her time away from the ICU. Fresh scenery and close proximity to nature was all she needed. Nature therapy – the basis of Aimee’s master’s thesis” in psychology.
A fundraiser to help the family with expenses is also going very well, an organizer said. The Run for Aimee 5K Run/Walk planned for 8 a.m. Saturday at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion, has already reached its limit of 500 registrations ahead of deadline, said Lisa Hall, one of the organizers. Another organizer, Kerri Hodnick, had reached out to the Copelands last month to offer them a place to stay while Aimee recuperates at the burn center. Andy Copeland responded and the idea of a fundraiser grew from there, Hall said.
“God gave me the idea to do a 5K,” she said, as way of helping the family with medical bills, such as purchasing a prosthetic leg. Businesses have responded with offers of gift certificates and other prizes so a silent auction was added, she said. The $25 race registrations have raised more than $10,000 and the silent auction will only add to that total, she said.
“It’s been overwhelming, the great response,” Hall said. “So many people want to help and pitch in. Just really showing their compassion for this girl and for the cause.”
While walk-ups will not be able to join the race Saturday, they can still participate in the silent auction and help that way, she said.