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Aimee Copeland tells Katie Couric she loves life

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NEW YORK — A Georgia woman who survived a rare fleshing-eating disease told Katie Couric on Tuesday that she doesn't take life for granted anymore.

Katie Couric (right) applauds as Aimee Copeland, 24, of Snellville, Ga., who survived a rare fleshing-eating disease, arrives for an exclusive interview on the new daytime talk show "Katie" in New York. Copeland walked to the stage using a new walker and was joined by her parents and sister. After Couric interviewed the family, she announced that an Atlanta-area Chevrolet dealer was in the studio to give Copeland a new minivan that will be retrofitted so she can drive it.  ASSOCIATED PRESS/IDA MAE ASTUTE
ASSOCIATED PRESS/IDA MAE ASTUTE
Katie Couric (right) applauds as Aimee Copeland, 24, of Snellville, Ga., who survived a rare fleshing-eating disease, arrives for an exclusive interview on the new daytime talk show "Katie" in New York. Copeland walked to the stage using a new walker and was joined by her parents and sister. After Couric interviewed the family, she announced that an Atlanta-area Chevrolet dealer was in the studio to give Copeland a new minivan that will be retrofitted so she can drive it.

Aimee Copeland, a 24-year-old University of West Georgia graduate student, walked onto stage Tuesday on Couric's new show, "Katie," using a walker she'd gotten just five days earlier and a prosthetic leg. As she made her way slowly across the stage to a chair, Couric and the studio audience stood and applauded.

"You did it," Couric said as she bent down to hug Copeland as she sat in the chair. "That was a beautiful sight to see, Aimee Copeland."

"It felt pretty good, too," Copeland said, flashing a giant grin.

Aimee Copeland contracted the rare infection, called necrotizing fasciitis, in May after falling from a zip line and gashing her leg. Early on, she was fighting for her life, with doctors uncertain she would survive.

The disease forced doctors to amputate both of her hands, her left leg and her right foot. She spent two months this summer at the Shepherd Center, a rehabilitation clinic in Atlanta, learning to move, eat and bathe without prosthetics.

She has been fitted with prosthetics for her right leg and will be fitted for one for her left leg, which is still sore and tender from skin grafts, she said. She also has hooks she can use as hands and prosthetic wheelchair arms to help her get around, but she said she likes to do as much as she can with the remains of her limbs.

Though her recovery was long and difficult, Copeland said she never felt like giving up. Now she even wants to learn to drive again.

"I love life," she said. "It's a beautiful thing. It's something I don't take for granted anymore."

Despite the struggles she faces every day, Copeland said she doesn't like to think of herself as disabled or handicapped.

"Instead of saying I'm disabled, I just say I have different abilities," she said.

Copeland was joined in New York by her parents and her older sister. Her mother, Donna, said she draws inspiration from her daughter.

"She's strong so we have to be just as strong for her," Donna Copeland said.

Couric also had a surprise for Copeland to help her accomplish her goal of learning to drive again.

Couric told Copeland that an Atlanta area Chevrolet dealer was in the studio and planned to donate a new minivan to Aimee that will be retrofitted so she can drive it. He said he wanted her to get a chance to be a normal 24-year-old.

"I've been so blessed by the kindness of complete strangers," Copeland said. "I don't know what to say; I'm speechless."

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KSL
143947
Points
KSL 09/12/12 - 06:57 am
1
1
Am I mistaken? Didn't many

Am I mistaken? Didn't many articles about her say she was a UGA grad student? Now it's West Ga? It doesn't make a difference as to what she has been through, but it certainly makes a difference as to the reporting and the quality or the reporting the public is getting.

And just for Palmetto, an ancestor in my husband's family founded that college.

tanbaby
1306
Points
tanbaby 09/12/12 - 02:55 am
1
0
no mention of all the care
Unpublished

no mention of all the care and support she received here in augusta, of course...oh wait, that's because augusta is not known for anything according to our dr. azzizzzzz....

Tullie
2930
Points
Tullie 09/12/12 - 05:42 am
0
1
KSL

UGA undergrad going to West GA for her Masters.

FYI: You have the word "founded" two times in your message to Palmetto.

KSL
143947
Points
KSL 09/12/12 - 07:04 am
0
1
Corrected. Thanks. I had not

Corrected. Thanks.

I had not seen anything about West GA and her until yesterday.

curly123053
5378
Points
curly123053 09/12/12 - 07:59 am
0
0
Thank God!

Thank God she appears to have beaten that illness. I pray she becomes a beacon of hope for many others.

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