I was an active 24-year-old graduate student studying the intersection between nature and psychology when tragedy struck. I first had the idea for the Aimee Copeland Foundation while lying in a hospital bed. My entire left leg, right foot and both hands had just been removed. I wondered how I could practice eco-therapy – or even how I could take a walk in the woods in my current state. But I knew I had to find a way.
As I laid in that hospital bed watching daytime TV, surrounded by others doing the same, I knew we were the people who need eco-therapy the most. Cut off from the natural world by inaccessible environments, people with disabilities are extremely vulnerable to physical and psychological issues that come along with being indoors and sedentary. It was then that I vowed to build a bridge between nature and accessibility.
That bridge is the Aimee Copeland Foundation – a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a fully-accessible nature preserve that also offers therapeutic counseling and fitness classes. The center will provide opportunities for mental, physical, and spiritual growth to people of all ages and abilities. And, together with our donors, we hope to subsidize these services for our visitors with disabilities.
During my recovery, I became aware of the unique perspective that I gained. I had experienced what it was like to be an average, adventure-loving person, and now I know fully the challenges of being an amputee and a wheelchair user. The way I see it, possessing this dual perspective and has truly been a blessing for my personal growth, and now, for others.
What started as an idea in a hospital bed has grown by leaps and bounds. And it’s no longer my idea – it’s ours. We welcome your thoughts on additional services we can provide or experiences that our community may be missing. Your time and support will help empower people with disabilities to build fulfilling and joyful lives. We are all different in one way or another, and we all have unique struggles – but together we can make a difference!
Danita Clark Able says
I’m so proud of you! You continue to inspire me. ❤️
You all are super strong. Much more than the average. We love you all.
I adore you!
Your courage and determination is inspiring–may God multiply your efforts 1000-fold!
John Floyd says
Great website, Aimee! This sounds like an incredible place for healing.
My daughter Jasmin was born with a very rare bone disease that is freezing her joints by replacing connective tissue and muscle with layers of bone. She sometimes needs a wheelchair, but has a very limited range of walking. She can still use her elbows but cannot lift her arms at the shoulder. She has recently lost nearly all of her ability to chew food and her breathing has become very restricted.
Jasmin is now 24 years old, and greatly benefited from attending Paul Newman’s The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, Connecticut beginning when she was six years old, shortly after being diagnosed. The camp is moderately nature-accessible with an Old West theme, and employs many great counselors who helped Jasmin increase her self-esteem.
Jasmin has spoken at many charity events and participated in many fundraisers for FOP, Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (www.ifopa.org). Please view her site where she blogs to raise awareness about this disease and how it’s impacted her life: http://www.jasminfloyd.com
Your eco-therapy nature preserve sounds like a great place that will benefit everyone involved. I hope to be able to help with the building of your bridge in the near future. THANK YOU!
Helen Bodimer says
It was such a pleasure to meet you at the Earl today. You have inspired me since your accident and you inspire me every day to do the volunteer work that I do. You also inspire me to be a strong woman!!! I hope to make it to your benefit in Candler Park, and again, it was such a pleasure to meet you and hug you.
High Five girlfriend!!!
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