In 2012, Aimee Copeland, a 24-year-old graduate student at The University of Georgia, embarked on a well-deserved break with her friends to savor the final weeks before graduation. During their outing, the group decided to visit a serene lake, offering the opportunity to experience the thrill of ziplining over the water.
Fueled by their adventurous spirits, they eagerly embraced the idea
Little did Aimee realize that this particular moment would forever alter the course of her life. A zipline, typically a secure and elevated wire, grants awe-inspiring views from above while ensuring safety. However, tragedy struck when it was Aimee’s turn to zipline.
Suddenly, the cable unexpectedly snapped, hurtling her towards a precipice. Tragically, she lost her leg in the accident. Aimee was promptly rushed to the hospital, but her ordeal had only just begun. To the dismay of the medical team, they discovered that her situation was far graver than anticipated.
The wound had become infected with a virulent strain of bacteria known as Aeromonas hydrophila, resulting in a life-threatening condition called necrotizing fasciitis, more commonly known as flesh-eating disease. Aimee’s life hung in the balance as she fought against this severe infection.
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The flesh-eating bacteria was advancing fast and immediate medical attention was required
After enduring 11 surgeries and undergoing arduous rehabilitation, Aimee demonstrated remarkable resilience and triumphed over her circumstances. However, her journey required the amputation of both her hands and legs. Gradually, Aimee adapted to her new reality, and four years following the accident, an image of her as a true warrior circulated across social media, igniting inspiration among thousands.
In a powerful display of self-acceptance, Aimee fearlessly revealed her body, adorned in a bikini on the beach, proudly showcasing her scars and amputated limbs. She wrote a heartfelt message: “It has taken me a considerable amount of time to embrace and embrace my transformed body. We are all inherently flawed, and within these imperfections lies immense beauty. Scars and skin grafts contribute to our character! It’s not about what you possess—rather, it’s about how you navigate what you have that truly matters.”
Aimee has taken to social media to advocate for a worthy cause, proud to have survived the flesh-eating bacteria that almost took her life
Today, in 2023, Aimee Copeland stands as a passionate advocate for the rights of amputees and individuals with disabilities. Through her impactful public speaking engagements and thought-provoking posts on social media, she continues to inspire countless others. She started the Aimee Copeland Foundation and has since mentored many disabled people, giving them hope.|
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In addition to her impactful advocacy work, Aimee Copeland has embarked on a personal and intellectual journey. Pursuing a Doctorate in Psychology at the University of West Georgia. This remarkable decision showcases her unwavering determination and thirst for knowledge, as she delves into the field to further her understanding of the human mind and contribute to the betterment of others.
Aimee’s pursuit of higher education is a testament to her indomitable spirit and inspires those who encounter her story.
During her journey, Aimee Copeland discovered a passion for swimming at the Windy Hill Athletic Club in Marietta, where she crossed paths with her swim coach, Keith Berryhill. Berryhill recognized her innate talent, saying, “When I first met her, I knew she could swim pretty well. She took to it pretty well.”
Aimee participated in her inaugural swimming competition in October, and in December, she fearlessly competed in the Paralympic National Championship held in Arizona. Undeterred, she has set her sights on numerous upcoming competitions in the following months. Aimee expressed her astonishment, saying, “It was mystifying for me to be naturally talented at this given what my disability is.”
Her remarkable progress and accomplishments have left her coach, Berryhill, in awe. He enthusiastically shared, “I’m still in awe of what she’s capable of doing. So, this is a very exciting journey.” In April, Aimee Copeland will embark on another significant milestone, as she prepares to compete in the World Para Swimming World Series. In addition to her athletic pursuits, Aimee remains committed to her foundation, ensuring that her advocacy and charitable work continue to make a positive impact. It just goes to show – necrotizing fasciitis is not a death sentence.
- Instagram. aimee_copeland
- “Aimee Copeland’s Comeback After Flesh-Eating Bacteria.” YouTube. ABC News
- “Flesh-Eating Bacteria Survivor on Finding a New Life and New Love After Losing All Four Limbs: ‘I’ve Let Go of the Girl I Was Before’.” People. Caitlin Keating. December 16, 2016.
- “‘I Thought I Cut My Leg, but I Had Deadly Necrotizing Fasciitis’.” News Week. Aimee Mercier. August 11, 2022.