Aimee Copeland meets with the public - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Aimee Copeland meets with the public

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A very special celebration was held for a Georgia woman who survived a rare fleshing-eating disease.

Aimee Copeland met with the public in her hometown of Snellville Friday night.

Copeland had her left leg, right foot and both hands amputated after she fell from a zip line into the Little Tallapoosa River on May 1, cut her leg and contracted necrotizing fasciitis.

The city of Snellville held "Aimee's Welcome Home" celebration from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the Snellville Towne Green.

"Thank you so much," Copeland told the crowd of more than a hundred. "Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers and all the good energy I've felt."

Copeland was presented a key to the city of Snellville and also listened to music by one of her favorite bands. It was a day where the community got their first chance to meet Copeland since she was injured.

Over the summer, the city of Snellville's residents raised $19,000 during public events. That money, Copeland said, was used to build her an elevator.

"The elevator is awesome," Copeland said. "It is so nice not having to go from one floor to the next."

For more than two hours, Copeland sat in her wheelchair outside of Snellville City Hall greeting hundreds of people and thanking them personally for all of their support.

"Everyone in my community has inspired me to give back, because they inspired me so much," Copeland said.

Despite her positive attitude, Copeland is still learning to live with her life the way it was before she was injured and said there are times when she is upset about what happened.

"I would say, I have my moments - for sure," Copeland said. "I would say, it is very frustrating when you try to do something, you want to do something and you can't do it, especially if there is really nobody around to help and it gets very frustrating. I want to be independent. I don't like having to depend on people for things."

One of the things Copeland is working towards during her rehabiliation at the Shepherd Center is living a life where she can take care of herself. 

Some of the people who waited in line to greet Copeland were amputees themselves.

Karen Belton said she lost her right hand, some of her fingers on her left hand and both legs because of an illness 20 years ago.

She came to tell Copeland that even though she too is an amputee, Copeland still has her whole life ahead of her.

"When things like this happen to you, you either go one way or the other way, and what happens with people is it brings out the lion inside of them and that goes to your survival mode," Belton said. "I live completely independent. I drive by myself, this is my mom, but I cant live with my mom."

Copeland's father, Andy Copeland, announced on his blog this week that he plans to write a book about his daughter's ordeal.

Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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