Aimee Copeland's story made national headlines in 2012 when she contracted a flesh-eating bacteria after a zipline accident and lost all four limbs. Now, she tells People magazine, "I've let go of the girl I was before. I've completely embraced who I am."
The Snellville native is featured in the magazine's new issue, which hits newsstands Friday. The publication chronicles Copeland's inspiring story of life after the accident and her search for love after doctors had to amputate parts of her arms and legs.
She has become an advocate for those with disabilities ever since she survived the fall over Little Tallapoosa River that left her left leg gashed and susceptible to necrotizing fasciitis, which threatened her life and led to amputations of both hands, her left leg and right foot.
Before she was able to return home, Copeland spent three months in the hospital and at a rehabilitation clinic.
The Brookwood High School grad, now 28, has earned two Master's degrees—one in humanistic psychology and the other in social work.
On Monday, Copeland posted a photo of herself on her Facebook page that garnered more than 1,500 shares as of Thursday morning. She posed in a bathing suit with her scars and skin grafts on full display.
"It has taken me a long time to become comfortable with and accept my new body," she wrote. "We are ALL made with imperfections and there is so much beauty in our flaws. The scars and skin grafting build character! It's not about what you have -- what you do with what you have is what really counts."
Last month, the Snellville survivor delivered an inspiring commencement address at Georgia Gwinnett College.
Watch her full commencement speech below:
Copeland will also be featured on the new show, People's List, June 11 at 8 p.m. on ABC.
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