'My self-confidence has never been higher': Flesh-eating bacteria survivor after losing all four limbs

By Litaletu Zidepa
13 June 2016

A foefie slide accident changed Aimee's life forever.

On a sunny afternoon in May 2012, Aimee Copeland and her friends set off for a swim at their local river.

It was here that the 24-year-old discovered a makeshift foefie slide. It wasn't much more than a wire with handlebars, but adventurous Aimee couldn't resist trying it out.

And it's a decision that changed the course of her life completely.

Speaking to the US' PEOPLE, Aimee, now 28, explains that it was on her second go on the wire that it snapped.

She heard a sickening crash and at that moment she realised she was on top of a sharp rock with a terrible wound in her left calf.

"I knew I was cut really bad and I knew it hurt but I didn't know to what extent," she says.

With 22 surgical staples to stitch her up, doctors sent Aimee home.

Soon after, Aimee realised something was wrong. "Something just didn't feel right in my leg."

After feeling pain in her upper left thigh, Aimee woke up three days later with blood blisters and rot growing on her left thigh -- and she couldn't utter a single word.

"My tongue was all shriveled up like a lizard tongue," she recalls. "My boyfriend immediately threw me over his shoulder, threw put me in the car and drove me to the emergency room."

Doctors diagnosed Aimee with what they called a necrotizing fasciitis, a rare flesh-eating bacteria.

To save her life, doctors had to amputate both her hands, her right leg below the knee and her left leg.

The weeks that followed for Aimee and her family were a nightmare. The young woman recalls how at one point, she asked her parents to “take off the heavy boots off her feet” and they had to tell her, “You don’t have feet”.

To survive the ordeal, she had to "let go of the girl she was before".

It’s been four years since her accident and Aimee now has two Masters Degrees and has become as a voice a hope others dealing with traumatic injuries. Through her social media accounts, Aimee inspires and encourages many with life-changing injuries like hers.

“There is always hope for another day and that continual instinct to keep on trying and never give up," she says.

She loves cooking for her friends in her open kitchen, keeping fit and healthy as well as driving in her customised van. She also plans to open a non-profit community centre for people living with disabilities.

"My self-confidence has never been higher."

"I've completely embraced who I am."

Sources: Buzzfeed, People.com, Facebook

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