Aimee Copeland preparing for new limbs

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GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. —

Aimee Copeland, the 25-year-old Gwinnett County woman who lost her hands, a leg and a foot to a flesh-eating bacteria, remains full of gratitude nearly a year after her illness.

“We just wanted to get involved as a way of giving back, as a thank you for all the support that we’ve gotten,” Copeland said.

Copeland was the keynote speaker at the Gwinnett County Salvation Army’s annual luncheon benefiting the Home Sweet Home program.

A standing ovation welcomed a beaming Copeland to the stage where she shared her message of hope, thanks, and how she overcame obstacles.

“You’ve just got to be appreciative for every single person that is hearing the message and reacting to it and taking it in a positive way,” Copeland said.

Those in attendance told Channel 2’s Wendy Corona that Copeland remains very inspirational.

“Sometimes it feels a little empty when people say, ‘You’re such an inspiration’ just because I hear it so much.  But it’s one of those things I’ve just had to realize that for so many people it means so many different things.  That even though I’m hearing it all the time, it’s the first time they’re saying it,” Copeland said.

Her father, Andy Copeland, had the crowd of 200 spellbound while detailing his daughter’s medical journey.

“They’re able to provide what we are trying to provide which is inspiration for folks, ” Captain Andrew Miller of the Salvation Army said.

Copeland expects to get prosthetic hands next month and a prosthetic left leg by August.  She sees herself in a special position to be able to help people spiritually and emotionally.

She also mentioned the similarities between herself and recent amputee victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.

“It is a life-altering thing, but it is what you make it.  It’s not the end, it’s just the beginning of a new life, of a new way of looking at life,” she said.