About this sponsorship: In honor of the 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary’s historic ascent of Mount Everest, Patch and Grape-Nuts are teaming up to highlight those who inspire people around them to climb their own mountains.
In May 2012, Aimee Copeland of Snellville, GA., had just completed her core courses for a master’s degree in psychology when she fell into a creek and cut her leg in an accident involving a homemade zip-line. The wound was infected with typically fatal flesh-eating bacteria in the accident, and Aimee lost her left leg, her right foot and both hands. But she did not lose her spirit.
Here, Aimee talks about the challenges she still faces after the amputations, and about others that she has set for herself.
Q: What goals are you trying to achieve right now?
A: That’s a hard question, because I have so many goals! Right now I’d say my focus is on healing myself completely, getting back to the level of functioning I had before the accident. Walking is, for sure, a main goal. The prosthesis for my left leg has been built, and I already have a foot for my right side. I just started driving with it. I wear it every day, but without a left one there’s not too much I can do with it.
When I had my injury I had just finished the last core classes for my master’s thesis. I hope to be done with it by the first of July. I’ve applied to the University of Valdosta’s Master's program and want to get a degree in social work.
Q: How do you plan to achieve your goals?
A: I think by doing what I’ve been doing all along – staying in good physical condition. Swimming, stretching, yoga and core work are all really important. Beyond that it’s working closely with the prosthetist. Every amputee is different.
The next step is to really speak up for myself with the health insurance company. I have to be really, patient. I can’t rush it and I can't get frustrated. Being patient has been really important.
Q: What will you do when you succeed?
A: I’ve been dying to go hiking. It’s not going to be the first thing -- it’s going to take time to learn to walk. But I’m dying to be in the woods. My boyfriend’s great, he takes me out in the wheelchair. I can’t wait to take my first steps in nature.
My intention is to get a master’s degree in social work. Then, I’ll be able to apply for a license, and with a license I can practice anywhere. I could work with Wounded Warriors or other organizations that help physically disabled people.
I would like to buy a big chunk of land and build trails and camp sites, a handicapped-accessible nature park. That’s like a 10-year plan. That’s a ways in the making.