GWINNETT COUNTY, GA-- As the wheelchairs move toward one another you see instant smiles and flashes of recognition on the faces of Aimee Copeland and Kyle Maynard.
The two have a lot in common and have heard stories of one another, but this is their first time meeting.The smiles are followed by a hug.
Two amputees with very different stories of how they arrived to this day.
Last year, Aimee Copeland contracted a rare flesh eating bacteria while ziplining with friends. Tosave her life,doctors had to amputate both feet, a leg and her hands.
Kyle Maynardis a congenital amputee who was born with only portions ofhis arms and legs.A former wrestler and mixed martial artist, he's also amotivationalspeaker who just finished climbingMount Kilimanjaro. He spent ten days bear crawling to the summit.
Copeland has long wanted to meet Maynard, so when he was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation's Gala organizersinvited Copeland to the event.
Before the galabegan,Copelandand Maynard met in a side roomfor an interview with 11Alive News. ReporterDuffie Dixon saidher job was easy--with one question the two began an instant conversation about whatthey most admire about eachother and what they'd like to seefor others like them in the future.
"I see usworkingtogether to come up with ways to make things more accessible, Its just a matter of figuring out things no one has thought of before," said Maynard.
Copeland said seeing what Maynard has accomplished by hiking Kilimanjaro, she hopes to someday return to the hiking and kayaking she loved before she lost her limbs.
"I think nature has a lot to offer in healing people. I want everyone to be able to get out on trails and rivers and experience what I have," said Copeland.
Maynard said he was inspired by Copeland's positive outlook saying she has not let her accident define her. She was quick to say the same about him.