Two brave fighters

Patients battle adversity with inspiring, indomitable human spirit

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It’s not often that you can so plainly witness the defiant, transcendent power of the human spirit.

But the Augusta area has glimpsed two inspiring examples of it in recent weeks and days.

First there’s Aimee Copeland, the Snellville graduate student who’s garnered international attention while battling a severe flesh-killing infection from a nasty cut on her leg from a May 1 makeshift zip-line accident. Despite nearly dying, and losing a leg, foot and hands to amputation, Aimee and her family have maintained a glorious and unerringly optimistic air at Doctors Hospital’s Joseph M. Still Burn Center.

She was even making jokes May 27, after only recently regaining the ability to talk.

“I was so excited,” her father Andy Copeland posted online after hearing at church that she was talking again, “I wanted to spring up out of the pew and into the aisle and do a dance. My fellow Baptists probably would not have appreciated that, so I resisted the urge. Instead, my fingers danced across my phone.

“She knows everything is going to be fine. We know everything is going to be fine. We all know it is going to be a long and challenging road, but we will handle it together.”

How often do you come across such otherworldly conviction and down-to-earth pluck? This family has something to teach the world.

More recently, Aiken boxer Paul “The Punisher” Williams, paralyzed from the waist down in a motorcycle accident May 27 in Marietta, is sounding utterly unbowed.

“I’m going to be walking, I know that. That’s how I feel,” he’s been quoted. “If I can’t walk, then, oh well, hakuna matata,” he added, borrowing a phrase from Disney’s The Lion King that means “no worries.”

“I’ll be on a boat fishing.”

He even chuckled in saying it.

Earlier, Williams was quoted as telling his manager, “If I never box again, I’ll do some stand-up comedy.” We’re not sure if the irony was intended. But we wouldn’t be surprised.

Granted, Williams may not know what’s in front of him. Though 41-2 in the boxing ring, he’s never faced a more daunting foe. And one caution: Positive thinking is most effective when based in reality; otherwise, it risks sliding into delusion and, when reality hits, despair.

Still, who’s to tell this man what reality is? And nothing may be more important in one’s recovery from a serious setback than an intrepid, steadfast, hopeful outlook.

But the battles these two fighters are waging are even bigger than both of them. In overcoming what they can – and merely in attempting it with the kind of bravado and spunk that flows straight from the soul – they have the capacity to lift up countless others through example.

It is beautifully and uniquely a human quality, infused with the divine, that allows someone who can’t even walk on his own to carry others to the summit.

God bless these two on that arduous journey.

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Jake 06/05/12 - 11:23 pm
Tough row to hoe

Both, indeed, face obstacles to recover some degree of normality. How often we take our health and well being for granted. Like the old Otis Redding song, "You Don't Miss Your Water Until Your Well Runs Dry".

Jake 06/05/12 - 11:58 pm

Speaking of brave fighters I just want to remind everyone of the significance of today, June 6th, Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy. 68 years ago a combined force of Americans, British, Canadian, and French Resistance fighters began what would be the end of Nazi rule in Europe. May the few survivors and those that are no longer with us rest in peace knowing that their sacrafice was not in vain.

JohnBrownAug 06/06/12 - 04:24 am
What Jake said in both posts.

What Jake said in both posts.

KSL 06/06/12 - 05:16 am
Great post, Jake.

Great post, Jake. So many tough, hard decisions made during WW2, but right decisions. Thank God for the people who could and would make them.

Fiat_Lux 06/06/12 - 09:38 am
Agree with KSL, Jake.

Their sacrifice makes it all the more important for all of us to stand firm against the dark forces working against us today to undermine the very things they died to preserve: life and liberty for all.

harley_52 06/06/12 - 10:17 am
Excellent posts, Jake. You

Excellent posts, Jake. You too, KSL.

desertcat6 06/06/12 - 10:55 am
Ms Copeland and Mr Williams

Ms Copeland and Mr Williams stories are encouraging and their positive attitudes should serve them well in the future. I wish them well.

I also offer my prayers and support to all those out there fighting for their lives or coping with a severe disability without any articles in the paper or prior fame to their name. Stay brave, stay strong and God Bless.

justthefacts 06/06/12 - 03:12 pm
Jake and others

Apparently the President doesn't share you thoughts regarding this day in history. He has no plans to mark the day. Busy campaigning I guess.

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