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Local blood drive, fundraisers set for Aimee Copeland

SNELLVILLE -- A local blood drive and a pair of fundraisers have been scheduled for South Gwinnett High School grad Aimee Copeland, whose battle against a flesh-eating bacteria has drawn national headlines.

Barbara Myers of the South Gwinnett Rotary Club said that her group will host a blood drive on Monday, May 21, at the First Baptist Church of Snellville. Andy Copeland, Aimee's father, is also a rotarian and has asked the public to donate blood to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, where his daughter is recovering.

"We want to help him in any way that we can," Myers said.

First Baptist Church of Snellville is located at 2400 Main Street in Snellville. The blood drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the church's family and children's center, Myers said.

Registration is not required but preferred. It can be completed visiting this link. By Monday afternoon, more than 60 people were registered.

"We're hoping to have about 300, if not more," Myers said.

The rotary club is also organizing a private bus trip to Augusta on Friday and has invited Andy Copeland's co-workers and colleagues from Edward Jones, Myers said.

Snellville Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witt also announced at Monday night's city council meeting that concerts held June 15 and 16 on the Snellville town green will serve as fundraisers for the Copeland family.

Banks and Shane will perform June 15. The June 16 act is still to be determined, Witt said.

"it's going to be an excellent opportunity to come together for Aimee and her family," Witt said.

Aimee Copeland, 24, was on the Little Tallapoosa River near Carrollton May 1 when a homemade zip-line broke and she gashed her left leg. Within a few days, she was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, a rare flesh-eating bacteria, and rushed to Augusta where he left leg was amputated and she began battling shutdown of her major organs.

Her parents were on NBC's "Today" show Monday. Andy Copeland said they had been communicating with Aimee by reading her lips. When told how long she had been in the hospital, the University of West Georgia graduate student reportedly said she was worried about her coursework and about losing her job at Carrollton's Sunnyside Cafe.

She had not yet been told the extent of her injuries.

Doctors originally believed Copeland's remaining foot and hands would have to be amputated as well, but her father said they now believe her palms could be saved.