ATLANTA — 11Alive has followed Aimee Copeland's journey her every step of the way. Despite the challenges, Copeland beat the odds.

Copeland suffered a laceration on her calf in 2012 when a zip line she was riding, along the lower Tallapoosa River, broke --and she fell to the ground.

A couple of days after she was treated at the Tanner Medical Center in Carrollton, doctors diagnosed her with Necrotizing fasciitis, and said the infection had spread beyond her calf. 

Aimee Copeland

The flesh-eating bacteria forced her to lose her hands, her right foot, and left leg.

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Since her accident she’s received a ton of support from the community and became an inspiration to many.

Copeland started the Aimee Copeland Foundation a couple of years ago.

However, in the past year Copeland decided to dive into a new journey.

“I was very bad. I just kept going because I realized it was great cardio,” she said with a smile.

Flesh eating bacteria survivor enters competitive swimming

Copeland started swimming at the Windy Hill Athletic Club in Marietta.  That’s where she met her swim coach, Keith Berryhill.

“When I first met her, I knew she could swim pretty well. She took to it pretty well,” he mentioned.

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Copeland competed in her first swim competition back in October. In December she competed in the Paraylmpic National Championship in Arizona. She said she has her eyes set on several competitions in the coming months.

“It was mystifying for me to be naturally talented at this given what my disability is,” Copeland stated.

“I’m still in awe of what she’s capable of doing.  so, this is a very exciting journey,” said Berryhill.

She will compete in the World Para Swimming World Series in April.

Copeland continues her work with her foundation too.


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