Aimee Copeland, the University of West Georgia grad student who recently lost her leg to a brutal flesh-eating bacteria, has learned she’ll also lose her remaining foot and both hands.
The infection, a rare disease known as necrotizing fasciitis, began after Copeland fell from a zip line May 1 near Carrollton, Ga., and cut open her calf. But despite the trauma and pain of the 24-year-old’s ordeal, her family members aren’t lamenting — they’re celebrating.
“My daughter’s alive, and that’s why I’m upbeat,” her father, Andy Copeland, told ABC News. “I believe we’ve had victory over death here.”
Though Copeland cannot speak, she’s smiling, laughing and communicating with her family through lip-reading in an intensive care unit in Augusta, Ga. When told that her hands and remaining foot would need to be removed to prevent the infection from spreading further, she mouthed the words, “Let’s do this.”
Copeland contracted the disease while on a kayaking trip along the Little Tallapoosa River. Her father said he considered it a “miracle” that she’s alive — particularly because about 1 in 4 of those who suffer from necrotizing fasciitis die from it, regardless of previous health. But Copeland appears to be making progress — she’s asking for books, requesting access to her laptop and expressing her sense of humor.
Copeland’s family has been very open about her condition, posting frequent updates to a Facebook page with more than 60,000 “Likes.” As of Friday, however, the Copelands have requested privacy and have stopped taking interview requests.