• Church organizes blood drive for Aimee Copeland

    By: Manuel Bojorquez


    SNELLVILLE, Ga. - Snellville community leaders are getting ready to help one of their own.

    They're working to set up a blood drive for Aimee Copeland -- the Gwinnett native and University of West Georgia student fighting a flesh-eating bacteria.

    "We're preparing for a very large crowd," said Aaron Coleman of First Baptist Church of Snellville, where the Copelands attend.

    The church gym will turn into a blood donation center from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday.

    "My heart goes out to the family. Your health can shift on a dime," said Barbara Myers of the South Gwinnett Rotary Club, which is also helping organize the blood drive.

    Copeland fell from a homemade zip line May 1, and cut her leg.

    Somehow the wound became infected by a bacteria commonly found in water. But in Copeland's case the bacteria multiplied rapidly, forcing doctors to amputate her leg.

    She remains in critical condition at an Augusta hospital, where she's receiving specialized care.

    Wednesday, her father Andy Copeland told Channel 2 Action News Aimee is showing signs of improvement.

    Doctors are now able to move her in and out of a hyperbaric chamber, hoping pure oxygen will help her recover.

    And she's communicating with her family -- showing strong brain activity.

    But she could still lose some fingers, and possibly her other foot.

    Still, her father says Aimee lit up when she was told about the overwhelming turnout at a blood drive in her honor earlier this week at her school, the University of West Georgia.

    "We told her about the turnout and her eyes got big," he said.

    "She's really, really excited about people giving blood," Andy Copeland said.

    The upcoming blood drive in Snellville already had 207 people registered by Thursday afternoon, for 300 spots.

    Another blood drive will also be held at the University of West Georgia on June 1.

    To register for Monday's blood drive, click here.


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