TODAY   |  May 05, 2013

Woman who contracted flesh-eating bacteria ‘doing great’

Aimee Copeland was not expected to survive after contracting a rare flesh-eating bacteria last year, but she is now doing well and helping to inspire others. “Regardless of what happens to you, regardless of the circumstances in your life, there's always so much joy out there, and you just got to find it,” Copeland said. NBC’s Michelle Franzen reports.

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>>> it's been a year of milestones for aimee copeland. the georgia graduate student was not expected to survive after contracting a rare flesh-eating bacteria. after undergoing multiple amputations, her road to recovery has been nothing short of amazing. michelle franzen says she's sharing her story to inspire others.

>> reporter: at the annual run, walk, and roll fund-raiser in georgia , the rain didn't stop aimee copeland from shining. the georgia graduate student who nearly died after contracting a rare flesh-eating bacteria helped raise money for friends of disabled adults and children, and came with a message.

>> let them know that i'm doing great. you know, regardless of what happens to you, regardless of the circumstances in your life, there's always so much joy out there, and you just have to find it.

>> reporter: it's been just a year since aimee cut her leg on a zip line and fell into a river. doctors found it was infected with a flesh-eating bacteria that quickly destroys tissue. doctors quickly amputated her right leg, left foot and both hands. her family marvelled at her recovery and determination.

>> she does pushups with her elbows. she does, like, 100 pushups.

>> reporter: aimee hasn't looked back since. in a week, she travels to ohio to be fitted with bionic hands and in a few more months, she hopes to reach another milestone, walking again with the help of a prosthetic leg .

>> that will be an amazing breakthrough to have the hands and the leg. i think there's no stopping me at that point.

>> reporter: in addition to speaking engagements, aimee is finishing her masters in psychology and starts her second masters program in august. and she is also waiting for a new companion to arrive, a service dog .

>> he'll be able to open doors , turn on and off lights and even retrieve things from the refrigerator, my three favorite snacks -- yogurt, carrot, and string cheese.

>> reporter: a life dramatically changed, but her spirit intact. for oday," michelle franzen , nbc news.