Some of you may remember the name Aimee Copeland.
In May of 2012, she was plastered all over national headlines as the young 24 year-old Georgia woman who had developed a very serious case of necrotizing fascistis. Necrotizing fascistis is commonly known as ‘flesh-eating bacteria’. It is extremely rare; only about 500 people every year are diagnosed.*
During a tragic accident involving a malfunction of a homemade zip line in a friend’s yard, Aimee fell into a freshwater stream and injured in her left leg. The source of flesh-eating bacteria, Streptococcus pyogenes, is a fairly common. It’s the same bacteria that causes strep throat. When ingested, our stomach has a highly capable defense system that fights off the bacteria. The typical reaction of Streptococcus pyogenes is a mild case of diarrhea. However, when the bacteria entered the wound in Aimee’s leg, a very different reaction occurred.
On the onset of flesh-eating bacteria taking over the body, the victim will have intense pain and swelling develop in the first few hours at the site off the infection’s entry point. The skin can turn violet, blister, and the tissue and surrounding organs begin to die. All while, the patient has a steep fever and feels very ill. This all takes place within a few days. If the patient doesn’t gets immediate treatment, they have a 73% chance of passing away.
Why am I sharing all of this? I am sharing because I think it’s important to know what Aimee Copeland was experiencing when the doctors told her they would have to amputate her entire left leg, her right foot, both hands, and a portion of her torso. All within a few days of her manageable zip line tumble. Her response? Mouthing the words, “Let’s do this.”
When I read her story on http://aimeecopeland.com, I tried to imagine myself in her place. Would I have the guts to go through all of this with the confidence that she had? Would I have the physical and emotional strength? Would I blame my friend’s construction of a zip line? Would I question God?
However, I do know one thing. God’s grace is sufficient enough for the circumstances. Aimee Copeland is alive and smiling today. She even taught herself how to do a lot of things over again that we take for granted, like eat her own food. Although she uses a walker and some prosthetic limbs now, she is still a whole person.
Her story is a tragedy, and yet a huge blessing. Her incredible attitude and smile will inspire me forever to be grateful for the things I have always taken for granted. To face every situation with gusto and courage.
God bless you, Aimee.
P.S. – Visit http://aimeecopeland.com for ways and options to donate to Aimee, her family, and her organizations.