"She was in high spirits," Copeland's mom, Donna, told TODAY. "She couldn't wait to get there and to get started. She is just so motivated."
Her father agreed.
"Everything about this is just amazing to me," her dad, Andy, told TODAY. "Her recovery is remarkable for three reasons: number one, it's God's will; number 2, it's her will; and number 3, I believe it's the wonderful care that she had there at the hospital."
Copeland was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis after she cut herself when she fell from a broken zip-line along the Tallapoosa River on May 1. Her disease was caused by the Aeromonas hydrophila bacteria, which is found in warm brackish waters. Necrotizing fasciitis is usually caused by strep bacteria.
Because the infection emits toxins that cut off blood flow to parts of the body, Copeland's left leg, right food and both hands have been amputated. At the beginning, she refused pain medication due to her beliefs in holistic healing -- the subject of her graduate thesis -- but the pain was so bad from the skin grafts needed to replace infected skin that she decide to take something, her father said.
Copeland's parents were able to take her outside the hospital's doors in her wheelchair for the first time in 49 days on June 2,said.
Her family told TODAY that her rehab will last six to eight weeks, and they are starting to retrofit her house for her return. Her father said her goal is to walk during her graduation in December to pick up her diploma. Many people have joined the effort to help pay for her rehabilitation costs, including organizers who have started a race in Augusta in her honor.
"It's amazing the things we take for granted in our lives," Andy Copeland told TODAY. "The ability to get up and go fix a cup of coffee and come sit back down again. But she basically has to just relearn that ability."