Staff Photo: John Bohn A tour of "Aimee's Wing" is given at the Copeland family home in Snellville Wednesday. Aimee Copeland is recovering from quadruple amputations due to a flesh eating infection incurred after an adventure accident. Home builders and contractors donated time and expenses to build an addition to the Copeland's home, to meet Aimee's physical needs.
SNELLVILLE -- Aimee Copeland won't be back in Snellville to check out the elaborate, donated addition to her family's home for another week or so, but that doesn't mean she hasn't been out and about.
Copeland -- the 24-year-old South Gwinnett grad rehabbing after amputations necessitated by a rare flesh-eating bacteria contracted over the summer -- has been "periodically" taking leave from her Atlanta-area rehab facility to see friends and such, father Andy revealed Wednesday. She even went to the Fox Theatre Tuesday night to catch a showing of "The Addams Family" musical.
"She's been going out periodically around downtown (Atlanta) and in the 'burbs even," Andy Copeland said. "She hasn't been here yet because we want to keep it a secret until we reveal it to her."
Andy Copeland addressed a crowd gathered outside his family's suddenly much larger home Wednesday morning, thanking the masses for the nearly 2,000-square-foot "Aimee's Wing" that was built in just 25 days of work. Unveiled and officially turned over to the family Wednesday, the project was spearheaded by Pulte Homes and brought together countless crews, vendors, donors and contractors.
Shorts forays aside, Aimee Copeland won't be officially released from rehab until next Wednesday or Thursday. She helped with initial plans and picked out color schemes, but has yet to see her "new home."
Family and friends, though, said the project screams "Aimee."
"She's a very alive, very vibrant person, and it's a very alive space," sister Paige Copeland said. "I think she'll die when she gets here."
Said Donna DeLuca, a designer at Kennesaw-based Design Environments, Inc.: "She has no idea, and maybe we're prejudiced, but she has no idea how fantastic it came together."
Scraped hardwoods and natural light fill the space of "Aimee's Wing," which includes a bedroom, expertly remodeled bathroom and study. Passionate purples and blues dominate the color scheme.
Upstairs, the family's kitchen -- remodeled by the folks at the Snellville Home Depot -- now blends into a large breakfast area. A sunroom and huge exercise room -- meant for yoga and physical therapy and painted with streaks of bright color -- complete the space.
Almost everything was donated. The one thing that wasn't, an elevator, turned out to be covered by the roughly $19,000 raised at last month's "Aimee's Weekend" on the Snellville Towne Green.
"It's going to be great," Paige Copeland said, "just her being here and being able to just chill."
A grad student at the University of West Georgia, Aimee contracted a rare bacteria called necrotizing fasciitis after a fall from a homemade zipline near Carrollton on May 1. She has had most of her left leg, both hands and her right foot amputated.
Leaving rehab, moving home and continuing to train with prosthetics are the next steps, but she and her father already have another scheme in the works.
There won't be any formal announcement for a few weeks, Andy Copeland said Wednesday, but they both want to use their platform to raise awareness for a number of causes: giving blood, wheelchairs and walkers for needy people with disabilities, prosthetics for injured soldiers.
"We want to reach out and we want to be spokespeople who can do that on behalf of those who may not have the voice to speak out on their own," Copeland said.