EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first installment of a 10-part series on the top stories of 2012.
A 24-year-old Georgia woman attracted nationwide attention when she beat astounding odds by fending off a deadly bacterial infection that attacked her flesh.
For nearly two months, Aimee Copeland, of Snellville, Ga., was treated for necrotizing fasciitis at Augusta’s Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital. She contracted the disease May 1 when her leg was gashed as she fell from a zipline that broke over the Little Tallapoosa River.
Doctors initially said Copeland had little to no chance of surviving. Her left leg, right foot and both hands were amputated.
Copeland’s father, Andy Copeland, said his daughter lives at home and continues physical therapy twice a week at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and enjoys swimming at the Shepherd Center, an Atlanta rehabilitation center.
She is being fitted for a prosthetic leg and could be able to stand by March.
Andy Copeland documented his daughter’s health battle in blog posts and on a Facebook page. Her courage and Christian faith were highlighted as she fought to breathe on her own. That positive attitude hasn’t been beaten yet, he said.
“She knows looking back in the past and wishing things had been different doesn’t help anything,” he said recently.
The University of West Georgia graduate student is making plans to finish her thesis by August, her father said.
In Augusta and across Georgia, blood drives were held in Aimee Copeland’s honor. A Run for Aimee 5K raised more than $17,000 for her medical expenses.
Copeland’s father thanked Augusta for its support after the July fundraising run.
“That Augusta has world-class medical facilities and world-class spirituality and compassion is no coincidence,” he said in a news release. “I believe that the latter bred the former, and this is the reason Augusta is such a unique and special place.”