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'Flesh-eating' amputee: 'I love life'

Sept. 11, 2012 at 6:36 PM

NEW YORK, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- A Georgia woman says life is "even more beautiful" for her after having survived the loss of her hands, right leg and left foot to a flesh-eating bacteria.

Aimee Copeland, who was sickened by the bacteria this year when she sustained a severe cut to her right leg when she fell from a zip line, was a guest Tuesday on "Katie," former "Today" show host Katie Couric's new TV talk show.

"There's a lot I don't have that other people have, but there's a lot I have that other people don't have," Copeland said.

Asked whether the ordeal ever made her want to give up, Copeland, 24, said: "I love life. It's a beautiful thing... even more so now.

"Senses are so deepened," she said. "Everything smells better. Everything is more vibrant, more beautiful."

Copeland -- who is working toward her master's degree in psychology -- said she wants to demonstrate to other amputees that they can still participate in outdoor recreational activities such as hiking and kayaking.

"I want to spread that knowledge to other amputees and help people get back in the woods, get back in the wilderness, into that place that can be so healing," she said.

Copeland drew tears from Couric and a standing ovation from the audience when she walked onstage, using a prosthetic foot and a walker.

Steve Rayman, a Chevrolet dealer whose father recently became an amputee, presented Copeland with a retrofitted van, saying he wanted her to be a normal "24-year-old kid."

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