Aimee Copeland will soon be the recipient of a set of iLimbs, an advanced set of prosthetic arms that are controlled by electrodes.
This past Tuesday, March 26, she also walked on two legs for the first time since her injury, and will soon receive a set of advanced prosthetic legs.
"To help other people heal," she said during a South Gwinnett Rotary Club meeting, "you first have to heal yourself."
On May 1, 2012, Aimee was injured in a homemade zip-line accident, where she fell into a creek and cut her leg severely. In the process, she picked up a typically fatal bacterium from the water that eats away the skin. The infection caused a condition called "necrotizing fasciitis," more widely known as "flesh-eating disease."
As a result, Aimee lost her left leg, her right foot, and both hands.
Now, her goals for the future include a second graduate degree in social work, which should pair well with her first master's degree in psychology. She hopes to do research at the Amputee Adventure Camp at the Nantahala Outdoor Center in North Carolina to determine "how these children with amputations are affected by the nature around them."
"I'm trying to isolate this variable of nature as healer," she explained.
In particular, she wants to focus on the wheelchair community once she establishes her own practice. Because of the difficult terrain, she said, people in wheelchairs are very limited from enjoying the wilderness.
"Being outdoors can be a very spiritual practice," she added.
But in order to get to her end goal, she first has to help herself. That environmental mastery is a very important part of self esteem and confidence, according to Copeland, and she wants to do more for herself. Walking on two legs for the first time on Tuesday was a huge step in the right direction.
In May, she will fly out to Ohio to be fitted for the iLimbs. And while the iLimb hands aren't designed for heavy manual labor, the simple act of brushing her own hair and grasping a pencil will drastically change Copeland's day-to-day life.
"I'm just glad this happened to me in 2013 and not 1913!" she joked.
For further reading:
- Snellville Welcomes Aimee Copeland Home
- Video: Aimee Copeland Speaks Out
- Aimee Copeland's New Wing Finally Revealed