GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga - Two years after a zip-lining accident in 2012 forced doctors to amputate several of her limbs, Aimee Copeland is gaining more independence.
It’s been two years since Copeland was released from the Shepherd Center after a flesh-eating bacteria nearly killed her.
“I definitely wouldn’t have seen myself as being this active,” Copeland said. “Being able to put my hair in a ponytail, kayaking, walking a quarter mile with my two legs."
Channel 2 Action News has watched Copeland through every step of her recovery and has seen how the community has embraced her.
“When I had my injury, I had Pulte Homes step up and build me this wonderful addition,” Copeland said. “I had Steve Rayman step up and donate me a vehicle. So I've seen first-hand how money can't buy everything, but when you're in a situation like this, it really helps.”
That's why Copeland say’s she’s been paying it forward. Copeland is part of several nonprofit organizations, and on Saturday, she's supporting a fundraiser for Karl Reising, a Gainesville carpenter and former Marine, who suffered a massive stroke. He can no longer get into his home.
“We’re working with him to help him get a stair lift for his house so he can enter his front door,” Copeland said. “I had the same problem as Karl. I had two steps getting into the house.”
But now Copeland can go anywhere in her home, thanks in a large part to the generosity of strangers. She says she’s using her story to help others.
“To me, it’s like giving back because people helped me so much. I feel like it’s my duty now to spread the love and pass that along,” Aimee said.
Copeland says she’s also working on her second master’s degree in social work. She hopes to open a handicap-accessible nature park. Her goal is to walk a 5k and to move out of her parents’ house on her own.