Aimee Copeland filled the room with life wherever she went. The 24-year-old graduated from the University of Georgia with honors and entered the humanistic psychology program at the University of West Georgia. The program examines nature and its effect on the human soul. She hoped to use a therapy with trouble youths in which they spend time in nature in conjunction with therapy.
Aimee loves the outdoors. On May 1, she and a group of friends went kayaking and created a homemade zip line for additional fun on the river. The zip line broke while Aimee was flying down, carving a gash in her left calf. Her friends helped her to a hospital where the wound was stapled shut.
Three days later, after repeated trips to the hospital, a doctor diagnosed Aimee with necrotizing fasciitis, a very rare flesh-eating bacteria. She was airlifted to Augusta, Georgia where surgeons amputated her leg. As they removed her from the operating table, she went into cardiac arrest, but was resuscitated.
Placed on life support, Aimee’s organs began shutting down. Her father posted on a blog site one week after the accident, “Aimee’s probability of surviving the night is bleak. All we can do and all we have done is pray.” Doctors summarized her chances of survival as “slim to none.”
The bacteria continued to ravage her body. On May 17, surgeons had to amputate her right foot and most of both hands. In spite of her prognosis, Aimee’s condition began improving. By the 20th, she was breathing on her own.
Aimee left the hospital Monday (July 2), headed for a rehabilitation facility where she will have to learn independent living again. To give the sensitive skin time to heal, physicians plan to fit her for prosthetics six months after the amputations. Considering the doctors’ expectations, Aimee experienced a miraculous recovery.
Aimee’s father, Andy, has chronicled her journey on a blog and facebook page. One week ago, Aimee made her first wheelchair trip outside the hospital. Sitting under pine trees her father asked her how she felt about her life. Thoughtfully, she replied, “I don’t have any regrets about what has happened. I don’t focus on what I have lost. I would rather focus on what I’ve gained. I feel like I’ve been blessed.”
Andy interpreted her to mean that she was blessed to be alive, but Aimee corrected him.
“I mean that I am blessed to have the opportunity to experience something that not many other people have the chance to experience. I am blessed to have a challenge that not many others get to have. I am blessed to have the capacity to share my experience with others and have the chance to improve the quality of someone else’s life. I’m blessed to be different.”
Aimee’s answer reminded her father of a magnet that has hung on their refrigerator over a decade. The Copeland family has observed this magnet to the point of it becoming almost imperceptible. It reads,
“Help me O Lord to recognize your opportunities in my difficulties.”
Perhaps you are noticing a distinct tone of faith and hope in this family. Andy expressed the depth of this family’s faith in a reply to a friend’s question on facebook. “Many cannot understand why I am not angry and perplexed. I cannot wear two emotions. I am who I am. How can I be angry and happy? I can only trust in Him and allow Him to lead us.
Love will drive us forward, but anger will only destroy us. With Jesus there is hope, with anger comes depression and fear. We fear nothing and we are hopeful for everything. This is our faith and I am pleased to share it with you.
“I want to conclude by establishing a clear statement of exactly why I am sharing so much about our family values and about Aimee’s miraculous healing and her continued recovery. There needs to be no doubt that the blood of Jesus Christ is the foundation of our faith. It is through this faith that Aimee lives today.
“It also needs to be understood that the power of prayer is at work in our lives and that the prayers of millions have powered Aimee’s recovery.
“I believe that it is my duty as Aimee’s father to share our testimony of faith, love and hope and demonstrate through our testimony that God is alive. He provides miracles, but we have to ask for those miracles and have faith that he will intercede for those who appear hopeless.
“I pray that God’s name will be glorified and that His power will be magnified, through which ultimately our blessings will be multiplied.”
I leave you to ponder the testimony of this family.